Talk:Separation of church and state/Archive 1

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Old discussions

In my opinion (if we think that it is a enciclopedy) the title of this article should be "Separation of church and state in the United States of America". More general stuff should be writed for this title.

I agree. Either have two or more articles, one of them general, or at least have subheadings in this one. This article is one of the examples of Americocentrism here at Wikipedia. --KF 22:46 Feb 22, 2003 (UTC)

"Separation of church and state" is a particularly American concept: it's a phrase formulated in the letters of Thomas Jefferson, writing about his ideas of government for America, and can hardly be written about WITHOUT making reference to the Constitution of the United States. It may be useful, in an expanded article, to place it within a broader historical context, and to discuss its later influence in Europe, with reference to the European tradition of an Established church, but it is natural for this article to concentrate on America. -- Someone else 02:33 Feb 23, 2003 (UTC)

Sorry SomeoneElse, but that's just nonsense. It's a fundamental part of political doctrine in most Western-style democracies, and has been so for centuries. To claim an American monopoly on it is absurd.
However, I see no reason at all why the US constitution should not be mentioned, as the US example played a substantial (and oft-ignored) part in the development of modern systems of government all over the world, perhaps second only to that of the French Revolution.
Also, the US makes a really good example to use for this sort of discussion, as the written constitutional structure is nice and clear and (relatively) simple. In many other countries that (in practice) work in a similar way, unwritten conventions and common law serve large parts of the role that the US Constitution serves, and in consequence they are often difficult to describe briefly and clearly. Consider, for example, the following two statements - not about S of C&S but illustrative just the same:
  • In the USA, the President is the chief executive and the head of state.
  • In New Zealand, the Prime Minister is, for practical purposes, the chief executive, but formally does not even exist, the function of chief executive being filled by the Governer General, whereas the head of state is technically the Queen but for practical purposes is the Governer General.
Now, the seperation of church and state is much the same in both countries, but if I were writing about S of C&S, which system do you think I'd rather use as an example? :) Tannin 03:12 Feb 23, 2003 (UTC)
I don't really disagree with you (except the "nonsense" part, and the part where you say I claimed it was an American monopoly). Church and State have varying degrees of separation in various places, but the specific phrase "Separation of church and state" arose to describe America's variation on it. -- Someone else 03:42 Feb 23, 2003 (UTC)
I'd need to check on exact dates, but I think you will find that the phrase came into use in a number of places at around about the same time. It's certainly not something that most people would think to associate with the US as opposed to France, the UK, and most of Europe. (Just to stick with the oldest examples.) S of C&S was, for example, a key issue in the French Revolution, and much European law to this day is based on Napoleonic law which (of course) was very much about the S of C&S. Saying it's a "particularly American concept" is bizarre. Tannin
I certainly HOPE most people would associate it with the US rather than the UK, since at least part of the latter has an established church! The phrase's origin was English dissenter James Burgh's book Crito (1767), quoted by Jefferson in a letter explaining his refusal to proclaim a fast day for national reconciliation: "I contemplate with solemn reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and state". The success of the French revolution, and subsequent law, of course had much to do with the prior success of the American revolution, (I did say earlier that the American experience had effects on European ideas) -- just as the American insistance on separation was based on English liberal ideals. -- Someone else 04:18 Feb 23, 2003 (UTC)
it seems that the separation of church and state was already a theme in the reformation movements of the 16th century. Burgh was a Scotsman, of course. I agree with other users' comments that the Yankocentrism of this article is ridiculous. Kenny
And here (with the UK example) we run right away into the sort of complexities I mentioned earlier. (Which is why I used that example.) Formally, the Church of England is an integral part of the state, and yet in practice modern UK governments tend to be more secular than US ones! There is a great deal of territory to be covered by this article, it seems. (Not by me though, I'm not particularly interested in religion as a rule.) Tannin

When I wrote the comment (the first one in this page), I didn't want to mean that it was incorrect the content about the United States. But the target of the article should be, in my opinion, to explain the concept. Is sure that the USA is a good example of separation between state and church, but, maybe is not the best one. In France, for instance, there are a more deep separation between religion and state that in the States (if not between church and state). I don't know where the concept was created but in the previous version of the article there was not a separation between "separation of church and state" and "United Stated of America". In other hand, I am really impressed by the big activity in wikipedia. It was a really fast answer. Regards and sorry by my english.Wintermute


This article has serious problems; the most important of which is the assumption that there is only one idea of "separation of church and state". That's not even true in the United States. There are religious notions of this principle, and there are secularist notions. This article doesn't yet provide any help for understanding how that's possible. It needs to be scrapped and re-written. Mkmcconn 23:44 Mar 21, 2003 (UTC)

Ok. Done. I provided lots of links to outside sources, such as FindLaw and State Department reports. I will revisit this tomorrow. Rednblu 05:16 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)
It's a decent start, Rednblu. The headings need to be shortened to conform to standards, and the content wikified. Also, it is more standard to put external links outside of the content, where they can be reviewed and preserved if deemed complementary. It's a better foundation, in my opinion. Mkmcconn 05:22 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)
I'm thinking about the external links within the text.
Ha! I found the secret Capital Letter black hole. I had to capitalize thusly, [[Pledge of Allegiance|pledge of allegiance]] to get the following link to work pledge of allegiance. Rednblu 15:20 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I moved external links to either autofootnotes or to External References at the end of the text.

And when I saved I got a message that my saves did not take because someone else, probably Mkm.. had changed it after I had checked it out to change.

But all my changes to the links took, so the system may have overwritten Mkm..'s improvements to this page. Rednblu 18:36 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Sorry about the edit conflict. I think that we apparently made virtually identical changes to the page. I think you've done an excellent job getting this article off to a better start, Rednblu. Mkmcconn 19:06 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)

A request...

I'd like to see a link to Jefferson's letter (where the phrase originally came from).

--JJ

clean up the opening paragraph

Could someone please clean up the opening paragraph of this page? I've read it half a dozen times trying to figure out what is trying to be said and all I'm left with is a bad headache. Loomis51 00:15, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Yes! The opening paragraph makes no sense. If I had some idea what it was getting at, i would reviseit, but i dont.

A couple of external links that could be useful

At least in the explanation of the history of the US Constitutional seperation of church and state would be Patrick Henry's A Bill Establishing a Provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion and James Madison's (then anononymous) response, A Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessment]. While these two documents apply to Virginia law of the time rather than to the US Constitution, I think they both give good insight into two competing views of the relationship of religious and secular authority during the birth of the US. -Craig

What did the Court actually say?

I have a question please about the following paragraph.

When fundamentalists attempted to force biology teachers to teach the Genesis creation story if they taught evolution, the Supreme Court ruled that labeling a religious doctrine as "science" was insufficient to allow it to be taught to a child in public school for the purpose of converting the child to a religion. [1]

To FairAndBalanced. You wrote that "the Supreme Court ruled that labeling a religious doctrine as "science" was insufficient to allow it to be taught to a child in public school for the purpose of converting the child to a religion." Could you point to the page in the case where the Court said that?

It seems to me that the Court found that the Act failed the first prong of the Lemon test--"secular purpose." Accordingly, the Court ruled on summary judgment and did not have to examine whether the thousand pages of "science" that the creationists filed was actually "science" or not. Would you agree? Rednblu 03:26, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)

That does not invalidate my version, but feel free to change it to stick more closely to the strict legal reasoning. The previous version inappropriately implied that ID was scientific. Fairandbalanced 00:10, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Fundamentalist attempt to force biology teachers to teach Genesis

When fundamentalists attempted to force biology teachers to teach the Genesis creation story if they taught evolution, the Supreme Court ruled that even scientific evidence could not be taught to a child in public school for the purpose of converting the child to a religion. That is, religious people could not appropriate snippets of scientific evidence with the aim of persuading public school children to adopt religious beliefs.

Where is Intelligent Design even implied in the above statement?
How about you and I start from the above and change it so that you think it is accurate.
Or how about quoting the Supreme Court?

When fundamentalists attempted to force biology teachers to teach the Genesis creation story if they taught evolution, the Supreme Court ruled that "teaching a variety of scientific theories about the origins of humankind to schoolchildren might be validly done with the clear secular intent of enhancing the effectiveness of science instruction. But because the primary purpose of the Creationism Act is to endorse a particular religious doctrine, the Act furthers religion in violation of the Establishment Clause." In other words, the Court did not have to examine whether what was taught under the Creationism Act was scientifically accurate. Only the legislators' intent to teach religion mattered to the Court.

Are we getting somewhere? Rednblu 02:36, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Separation of politics and religion in the US

I agree with MisfitToys' edits, which resulted in a text that expressed what I meant better than my original. However, I reverted "estrangement" to "separation". "Estrangement" is separation, but with the added nuance of some hostility. I don't think that hostile feelings are an issue here – it's just that some countries separation religion and politics by tradition, and many people adhere to this vision without being hostile to religion. It's just like strawberry marmalade and steak - you may like each separately, but think, without any kind of bad feeling, that they do not mix well. See laïcité for instance. David.Monniaux 08:27, 28 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Technically, 'separation of church and state' isn't fixed "constitutional law' in the US either (although it is a concept discussed in constitutional law); the nature of the amendment is more toward non-establishment (different from disestablishment) rather than separation. MisfitToys 20:48, Apr 28, 2004 (UTC)

I would have expected to see something about Turkey here as I believe it is a good example of an Islamic country which has acheived a clear secular constitution. I don't know enough about Turkish history to edit the article. Are there any Turkish contributors who would like to comment ? Julianp 02:10, 7 May 2004 (UTC)

I would like the U.S. section edited. After all, the Constitution says, Congress shall make no law concerning the establishment, etc. and you start with "The court-enforced separation does not extend to all elements of civil religion." Which is true, but your examples of money, etc., just aren't establishments of religion. My point isn't that I disagree with people who see these as religious, but that writing this article should take into account that some of us don't accept these displays as incongruous. I consider that atheism is a religion, and to leave out these statements would be undemocratic- and the Constitution guarantees me a "democratic form of gov't"

solomonrex

I believe that the separation of politics and religion in the US is not complete: having a president say "God bless America" in all his public appearances and having "In God we trust" printed on the money clearly shows what is the main religion.

The primary response to that arguement is that "God" can refer to any god, and thus does not imply that one religion is favored (of course, atheists and agnostics don't like this, either). Remember, seperation of Church and State is not mandated, simply non-interference. Emmett5 00:04, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

A response to that is the use of the singular "God" cannot refer to a plural, thus technically favouring monotheism. (Nitpicky, I know, but a valid point.) Autarch 16:50, 6 June 2006 (UTC)


Okay a few things. First, Turkey is not the great secular-Islamic state that it's being talked up to be. The Orthodox Christians for instance live in a state of dhimmitude and are unable to train new clergy or even elect their own leaders without state approval. This is an instance where there is no separation between church and state...where the state interfers with the church. That's a topic that is seldom addressed; what happens when the state meddles with religions...you know like China does?

And the argument that "One nation under God" violates anything is silly. The Founders were very exact in how they wrote the Constitution. It was thought about for many years, discussed and debated for many months and carefully written over several days by many people. They were very careful in what words they used. "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or the free exercise thereof." I.E., no Church of America like the Church of England. And quite frankly, the ACLU and alot of judges have used a private letter from Thomas Jefferson to enact alot of bad law and court decisions that have nothing to do with Congress trying to make everyone a Methodist or a Catholic or a Buddhist or anything like that.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Culmo80 (talkcontribs) 19:07, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Do you have sources for any of your assertions? KillerChihuahua?!? 19:14, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Prayer Ban

Did the Spreme Court actually ban all prayer in schools, or just organized prayer? From what I understand, kids are free to pray on their own, therefore it wouldn't be right to say they banned prayer. To say they banned prayer makes it sound like there are police standing over anyone who says a silent prayer by themself. If it's not so, I propose saying they banned "organized prayer". Thoughts? --DanielCD 14:02, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Even organized prayer is fine, as long as the kids do it on their own (I believe), possibly with some restrictions i.e. not during school hours. I think that it can't be teacher-led. [[User:Meelar|Meelar (talk)]] 14:08, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Well some schools didn't get the note...little girls suspended for reading the Bible at recess, teachers suspended for just saying God...and so forth. Obviously people take what the court says to an extreme for their own personal agenda...you always have that type. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Culmo80 (talkcontribs) 19:09, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Do you have a source for that? KillerChihuahua?!? 19:13, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Canadian Constitution

Actually, I see nothing in the Canadian Constitution about supremecy of any god... check here

I also can find no mention of god at all

1982 http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/const/annex_e.html#I --JimWae 21:31, 2005 Apr 5 (UTC)

It's in the preamble to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is a Constitutional document:

"Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law." Loomis51 00:15, 10 March 2006 (UTC)


God. We use upper-case "G" when refering to God. You should too. Nevertheless, you should read the text of the Charter again. DocEss 17:34, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Russian laws

I just stumbled into this:

"For example, in the Russian Armed Forces -- for which there continues to be universal conscription -- no form of religious worship other than Orthodox Christian worship is permitted."

I think this is wrong. I've never heard of any law like that in Russia. It is true that chaplains are strictly Orthodox (although this might have changed recently), but, as far as I know, prayer is NOT prohibited. Can anyone supply a reference to prove or disprove this?


The previous statement is entirely incorrect (but a good try!) Freedom of religion has been wholeheartedly adopted in Russia. In Chechnya, before going into battle, it is common for soldiers to pray. No religion is prohibited. That said, Russian Orthodox is the primary religion practiced. And it is still not what could be considered a religious country, as the enforced athiesm of the communist era had its effect and a majority of the population could be considered non-believers.

Noitall 03:14, 13 May 2005 (UTC)

Sentence about the phrase not appearing in the US Constitution

I took out the sentence at the end of the first paragraph. I don't think it matters how many people believe it, saying that "separation of church and state" doesn't appear in the constitution is a loaded statement that makes it seem that there is some significance in its not being there. I don't believe it is significant, because the law is discussed every day in terms that don't appear in the constitution. Anyway, I'm sure 2/3 of Americans think a lot of things about the constitution that aren't true. Superking 21:22, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Actually it is important because current court rulings are being decided on that very phrase. And just because 2/3s of Americans may think something about the Constitution which is untrue, that doesn't matter. The perceived notion is that the "separation" phrase is part of the 1st Amendment. It's important because alot people use that ignorance to further their own causes.

Source requests for United States sections

Are there references for the Madison quote and for the Justice Thomas position? -- Beland 05:54, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I took out the Madison quote: it's known to be bogus. As for Thomas's position, his dissent in last term's Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow outlines his view that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment was intended as a federalism protection of sorts, prohibiting the federal government from interfering with state religious establishments. I shudder to think that a person who essentially denies the existence of a legal separation of church and state sits on the highest court in the land, but that's neither here nor there. SS451 22:49, Apr 11, 2005 (UTC)

Tests for office in the U.S.

Seven U.S. states still have religious tests for office on the books, that have yet to be challenged.

I assume that previous precedents have essentially rendered these statues unenforcable. If so, I wouldn't see the fact that they remain unchallenged as particularly significant, though it might be an interesting bit of trivia to add to Separation of church and state in the United States. -- Beland 02:28, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Excised text

I have excised from the text the following:

Many Americans mistakenly believe that the doctrine of "separation of church and state" exists in the Judicial System of the United States, however nowhere in the Constitution does it demand or even refer to such a division. The phrase was coined by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in which he says "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state." [sic.] His "wall" was understood to be protecting the collective idea of church from persecution and abuse from the state. Unlike in Jefferson's day when he as well as others were trying to produce freedom of religion, many today are, in effect, trying to produce a freedom from religion. (The entire text of this letter, as well as the text of the Danbury Letter may be found at the Library of Congress website: http://www.loc.gov

It was contributed by Anonymous user 65.96.3.211. The reason I have removed it is because it does not, I believe, belong in the introductory text. I am not opposed to its inclusion within the article, but I am seeking input as to where it should be placed. The most obvious placement would in the United States of America section. Thoughts? --Cyberjunkie 05:01, 11 May 2005 (UTC)

This appears to be a particular interpretation of history and constitutional law, which is not supported by any sources. Until this view can be attributed it does not belong in the article. -Willmcw 04:37, May 16, 2005 (UTC)
I partially agree with the above comments. A better and more fuller discussion of this timely and important topic should be in the body. As to sources, the first sentence is self-evident in the Establishment Clause. The Danbury source can be found many places, such as the Danbury letter, Library of Congress. The third part is controversial and needs more explanation. The last part is a political view. --Noitall 05:06, 16 May 2005 (UTC)

"The Canadian view on Church and State is largely similar to the view in the United States." Who says this? I'm not an expert here, but I can think of a number of counterexamples. Catholics are given explicit rights, expecially in Quebec, which area given to no other relgious groups. There is no law banning government funding to religous groups. There are publicly funded Christian schools. I hate to say it, but this makes me suspicious of the rest of the article. DJ Clayworth 18:16, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Since 'Separation of church and state' is pretty much a US-only concept, maybe we should rename this article to Relations between church and state or something similar. DJ Clayworth 18:17, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Went and wrote a more accurate version. DJ Clayworth 18:40, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Germany. I believe that until recently (1980s?) in Germany there was a 'church tax' which was administered by the government and given to a church of your choice? You could opt out, but it was opt-out rather than opt-in? DJ Clayworth 18:19, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Dear Clayworth, the church tax does exist in Germany, however the details you give are not accurate (church - or charity - of your choice is the Italian way) Not all religious groups do raise church. If a group is sufficently big, sufficently stable and not at odds with the constitution, they can attain the status of "corporation of public law" and they then can among other things (against a fee) use the state's revenue system of raising "membership fees" from their members (the amount is usually a percentage of from the income tax). Currently this status is held by the Catholic Church, the mainline Protesant EKD and the Jewish congregation. Also, Jevovah's Wittnesses have recently succeeded in a court case giving them this status as well, but so far they haven't decided on how to deal with their newly won rights. So you give church tax to the "church of your choice" because you are a member of that church, but not to any other church. You also can opt out only by withdrawing official membership. If you don't belong to a church/religious group that raises that church tax (as explained above) you don't have to pay anything (in contrast with the Italian model). Str1977 19:19, 11 July 2005 (UTC)

Rename article

Nobody has responded to my suggestion that this article be renamed Relations between church and state. Anyone object? Any supporters? DJ Clayworth 17:02, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

I think it is fine as is. However, you might like to shift all information pertaining to relations under a new section with your suggested title.--Cyberjunkie | Talk 06:53, 13 July 2005 (UTC)
  • I think the name of the article as it stands is appropriate and has a different meaning to the proposed change. The separation of church and state was important in Australian colonial history and made a difference in particular to education and how it is delivered today. It has a different sense than relations between the two institutions. Perhaps a separate article might be in order exploring the issues of the relationship.--AYArktos 08:40, 13 July 2005 (UTC)

Greece - copyright problem?

The Greece section appears to be copied directly from the linked source ([2]). While the source is clearly indicated, the paragraph is not displayed as a quote (and is really too long to be considered one). Probably this should be rewritten to avoid copyright infringement? --David Edgar 11:18, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

Grant quote

I removed this:

Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church, and the private school, supported entirely by private contributions. Keep the church and state forever separate. Ulysses S. Grant

because of where it was situated, as though it were a statement of fact, or the last word. The quote is not irrelevant though; and an appropriate place might be found for it, in this article. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 06:04, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

yeah because Grant was our greeatest presedent ever. It however is appropriate for the article so I can offer no reason to not add it. Personally I am in Favor of a Theocracy. 167.142.154.27 21:12, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

Article split

I propose a split of this article. I would move the descriptions of each country's relation between its church and state to a new article Relationship between church and state, while keeping the specific discussion of the separation parts, especially the US experience here. This is basicly because the degree of separation is not actually the key thing for many countries. For them it is not sensible to discuss the relationship in terms of separation. DJ Clayworth 17:00, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

Separation

I think there's a problematic leaning within the concept of "separation" as it is discussed here. Granted, this affects the whole discussion in the "outside world" so it surely does affect Wikipedia, but I will ask anyway.

At fact value, separation of church and state should mean neither interferes directly with the other. However, as the section for the "separated" Turkey (the quoted passage reads the "There shall be no interference whatsoever of the sacred religious feelings in State affairs and politics"), as well as the entry to the "Modern" section ("Some states are more strict than others in disallowing church influence on the state") are leaning towards only considering a ecclesiatical interference into the state and not the other way around.

Does anyone have an idea how to fix this (the Turkey passage is not so much the problem, as the passage raises this issue, but the "modern" is). I'm not sure whether there is a solution since this a real life problem. Str1977 21:29, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

Removed text from "secular arguments against separation"

Copying the text here. I agree with JimWae that these are not really secular arguments. -- Rune Welsh | ταλκ | Esperanza 19:58, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

Both of these groups have won recent victories in the allowance of religious symbols on public land under specific circumstances, although many see the need to defend these religious symbols as a defeat and insult to our roots as a nation.
There are those outside of organized religion who believe every person has the right to live under government that agrees with their core beliefs. This has lead back to the idea of Localized Church Government. If Localized Church Government were to be applied in America every county would decide how they wanted to be affiliated with the church. This would, according to its supporters, lead to greater religious freedom for everyone. “The state religion is this way and if you don’t like it you can leave.”
There are also people who believe the government should take an active role in eliminating religion. These people believe that it is impossible to keep the “superstitions” and “religious prejudices” out of the government and that the “superstitions” and “religious prejudices” are harmful to society. The only way to solve the problem of religion, according to these people, is to get rid of religion. They often point to freedom of choice. While many secularists think abortion is fine most religious groups condemn it and are trying to get it outlawed. Religious groups are often against homosexual marriage, pornography, child labor, free sex, prostitutes, euthanasia, and gambling; things many others see as being human rights.
Lastly there is the argument that if church and state were separated to the fullest extent possible religiously affiliated groups could perform any action they chose without fear of governmental intervention. As it is the government still has the ability to say that religious groups can't hold human sacrifices or set off nuclear weapons or destroy private property or other such illegal acts.

Secular arguments against separation

These arguments are not inherently secular, but nor are they religious. I placed them under secular arguments as a default. Would it be acceptable to every one to have a "neutral arguments against separation" section?

Secularism and theocracy

In less of course we are dealing with Evolution against Creationsism, in that case we must consider the parallels, and more importantly the flaw in language (Wittgenstein) to consider different perspectives. I have many problems with this post, because there are many flaws but this is my first post here? Is it cool, or who can I discuss this matter with this peson futher? moved from article, originally posted by 68.56.4.204

Overview or US Summary?

The section here which claims to be an overview of the topic in fact goes into enormous detail about the origins of the particular position in the USA. I think much of that materal needs to be in a distinct section concerned with separation of church and state in the US constitution. I know it's a particular constitutional isue in the US, but a general overview should be international in scope. Myopic Bookworm 09:24, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

I suppose that would involve a new section about works such as A Letter Concerning Toleration by John Locke (Yes, I know that Locke didn't advocate the modern understanding of toleration - he didn't allow for toleration of Catholics or atheists, but his work can be seen as a forerunner.) Autarch 17:08, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

quite a leap of understanding

Text currently in the article: "The Danbury Baptist Association wrote President Jefferson in an attempt to persuade him to use his Executive Powers as President to intervene in their behalf. In his letter of reply to the Danbury Baptist Association, Jefferson argued that the U.S. Constitution forbade any interference from the Federal government with a Connecticut law which required membership in a particular church in order to hold public office.

Jefferson's point in the letter was that the Federal or State governments had no Constitutional authority to prohibit the practice of any religion. Jefferson refused their plea on the grounds cited in his letter. Thus, with the adoption of the Jeffersonian phrase '...wall of separation between church and state...', by those who seek to use Federal power to remove from the public square any religiosity of any sort, the inversion of the meaning intended by Jefferson as he wrote it."

It is interesting that whomever added this purports to know the intent of Jefferson, compared to some of the issues regarding Jefferson's abhorrence for state supported religion, and religiously supported states.--Vidkun 15:37, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Here, in fact, is the text of the leter from the DBA to Jefferson -
"Sir, — Among the many millions in America and Europe who rejoice in your Election to office; we embrace the first opportunity which we have enjoyd in our collective capacity, since your Inauguration, to express our great satisfaction, in your appointment to the chief Majestracy in the United States; And though our mode of expression may be less courtly and pompious than what many others clothe their addresses with, we beg you, Sir to believe, that none are more sincere.
Our Sentiments are uniformly on the side of Religious Liberty — That Religion is at all times and places a matter between God and individuals — That no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious Opinions - That the legitimate Power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor: But Sir our constitution of government is not specific. Our ancient charter together with the Laws made coincident therewith, were adopted on the Basis of our government, at the time of our revolution; and such had been our Laws & usages, and such still are; that Religion is considered as the first object of Legislation; and therefore what religious privileges we enjoy (as a minor part of the State) we enjoy as favors granted, and not as inalienable rights: and these favors we receive at the expense of such degradingacknowledgements, as are inconsistent with the rights of freemen. It is not to be wondered at therefore; if those, who seek after power & gain under the pretense of government & Religion should reproach their fellow men — should reproach their chief Magistrate, as an enemy of religion Law & good order because he will not, dare not assume the prerogatives of Jehovah and make Laws to govern the Kingdom of Christ.
Sir, we are sensible that the President of the United States, is not the national legislator, and also sensible that the national government cannot destroy the Laws of each State; but our hopes are strong that the sentiments of our beloved President, which have had such genial affect already, like the radiant beams of the Sun, will shine and prevail through all these States and all the world till Hierarchy and Tyranny be destroyed from the Earth. Sir, when we reflect on your past services, and see a glow of philanthropy and good will shining forth in a course of more than thirty years we have reason to believe that America's God has raised you up to fill the chair of State out of that good will which he bears to the Millions which you preside over. May God strengthen you for the arduous task which providence & the voice of the people have cald you to sustain and support you in your Administration against all the predetermined opposition of those who wish to rise to wealth & importance on the poverty and subjection of the people.
And may the Lord preserve you safe from every evil and bring you at last to his Heavenly Kingdom through Jesus Christ our Glorious Mediator.
Signed in behalf of the Association.
his response -
Gentlemen, — The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist Association, give me the highest satisfaction. My duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, and in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and Creator of man, and tender you for yourselves and your religious association, assurances of my high respect and esteem.
Nowhere in his letter, do I see anything supporting the assertion "Jefferson's point in the letter was that the Federal or State governments had no Constitutional authority to prohibit the practice of any religion. Jefferson refused their plea on the grounds cited in his letter."--Vidkun 15:47, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Moral

Regarding this sentence: Religion plays a strong role in national politics, especially in controversial moral issues like abortion, euthanasia, and homosexuality. "Moral" is a bit POV, whereas leaving out the qualifier completely leaves it open as to whether the subjects are "moral" or not. Abortion and euthanasia are ethical issues, which is different from moral; homosexuality is only a moral issue from a religious perspective. Hence, "moral" is a religious viewpoint only. The statement does not qualify that this is a religious viewpoint only, so "moral" is inappropriate. KillerChihuahua?!? 17:38, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

Strongly agree. I have removed the "moral" before and been reverted if I remember correctly. Homosexuality is not a moral issue to most gay people I know. It is only a moral issue for people who have a problem, usually religious, with homosexuality. I have no problem with describing abortion and euthanasia as moral issues, but I can't think of a good way to note them separately as moral issues and one non-moral issue without the use of exceedingly cumbersome language. I say kill the "moral" altogether. Kasreyn 03:27, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
"Homosexuality is not a moral issue to most gay people I know" sounds really objective in my book. I don't think that because supporters of a certain practice think so is a valid point, as this would also apply to the other issues, though I am glad that you agree that these are on a way different moral level (thoug "die-hard abortionists" will probably disagree).
But anyway, I will not waste my time with reverting this issue, as the current wording is still acceptable. (BTW, dividing them between moral and non-moral would clearly be POV-pushing, apart from being cumbersome.)
However, I want to say two things to KC:
  • I object to your qualification of something is a "religious viewpoint": there is no religious viewpoint unless you say which religion you are talking about. There is no "the religion" and neither is there "the secular viewpoint".
  • Could you please explain to me in layman's language your distinction between ethics and moral? To me they are basically the same using either the Greek or the Latin term.
Str1977 (smile back) 13:30, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
Str1977, the difference as I see it is that abortion and euthanasia are acts which one chooses or does not choose to engage in. This makes them clearly moral issues. Homosexuality is seen as an act by some - typically by the religious, who see it as a choice to sin. By many others, including homosexuals themselves, being homosexual is seen as an innate characteristic of a person, and no choice or action is involved. Therefore morality cannot be involved one way or the other, because no choice was made. Of course, Wikipedia should not take sides in the debate over whether homosexuality is innate or a choice; but calling it a "moral" issue without further explanation is clearly siding with the religious viewpoint that homosexuality is a choice. Am I more clear now? Cheers, Kasreyn 16:51, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, Kasreyn, but you don't make sense. It is not a question of religion (or which or not) whether the homosexual act is an act one does because one choses so. The inclination is another issue. The point you are raising is not one of different views at all, but one of the definition of what is meant when someone says homosexuality. If you mean the act, what follows will of course be different then if you are talking about the inclination.
Anyway, your underlying points are reasonable in my book, but I am convinced that there are definitely those that disagree with them. There's no evil in this world that doesn't find advocates nowadays, even if that means wrecking reason. Str1977 (smile back) 20:29, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
You're not reading it correctly. The article referred to "homosexuality" as a moral issue. This includes simply being homosexual, not just "homosexual acts". And you're right that there are differing viewpoints on whether it should be called a moral issue or not. That is why we must not simply call it a moral issue ourselves. We must say "group a consider this a moral issue, while group b does not", or some such thing. Kasreyn 21:50, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
I was reading it correctly, though you misunderstood me. The article says "homsexuality" which might include simply being homosexual and not just the acts. However, it is ambiguous and how one reads it is not determined by adherence to a religion. Re the other point, I was referring strictly to the inclination. Also, "that there are differing viewpoints on whether it should be called a moral issue or not" is, at the risk of sounding repetitive, something that can be said about basically any issue. Str1977 (smile back) 13:24, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
So it can be said about almost any issue. So what? The objection still stands. It's inappropriate for us to label an issue as "moral"; it's original research and POV. Kasreyn 19:24, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
Technically, they are different, but the point is moot because I'm not talking about replacing moral with ethical. No, I'm talking about leaving it out altogether. It adds nothing to the sentence, unless you are trying to claim that homosexuals are immoral or unethical by their very nature, a position claimed only by those with a strong Abrahamic religious bias. There may be other religions which also condemn homosexuality as immoral - if so, I am unaware of them. Male homosexuals are considered a "third gender" in Hindu beliefs - see Hijra (South Asia) - and Buddhism only has avoid sexual misconduct as one of the precepts, and although some place homosexuality under that, some do not; some place any sex under that umbrella. Neither specifically mentions homosexuality. In contrast, the Abrahamic religions not only specifically mention it, the prescription is stoning. See Homosexuality laws of the world. KillerChihuahua?!? 14:21, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
That's all fine and dandy but does not contradict my point.
As for my question, would you please answer it even it makes no difference to the article? (I never intended that it should have). So, how are they different "technically"? Str1977 (smile back) 14:32, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
What point are you speaking of (which was not contradicted)? KillerChihuahua?!? 15:24, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
The point that there is no "the religious viewpoint", nor "the secular viewpoint".
Could you please answer my question? Str1977 (smile back) 20:26, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

If I could intrude on this conversation to try and answer the question if I can... The adjectives "ethical" and "moral" are often used as synonyms, but ethics refers to a branch of philosophy dealing with morality: rightness and wrongness. To call an action ethical should not mean that it is right, only that it could be right or wrong in a moral sense. An action could be right or wrong in a nonmoral sense and it would not be ethical regardless. A "good" painting is judged by a standard of value which is aesthetic, not ethical (in most philosophies).

The terms "moral" and "ethical issue" sounds rather senseless to me. Why, in politics, aren't economic issues considered "moral" and "ethical"? Is there no right and wrong when it comes to the exchange of goods? Of course homosexuality is an ethical subject: either it is right or it is wrong, human actions are usually considered to be invariable so (again, in most philosophies). Though homosexuality may not be regarded as "holy" or "desirable" by some who do not regard it as "wrong" and may not be regarded as "disgusting" by some who do consider it "wrong".

As to religious and secular viewpoint: religion is one of those words everybody thinks they understand but nobody ever defines. Could not a religious person be a secular historian with secular studies under his belt and perhaps a few secular publications in various journals? Could not a religious person have a secular viewpoint if they looked through secular lenses? Or is religion life-consuming and, if so, can we call a secular humanist, whose secular humanism directs his actions and decisions, more religious than an animist or a sun-worshipper? I hope I made this clear as mud. Srnec 21:51, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Thanks, Srnec, for intruding and informing.
It seems I have now understood the distinction, though I think that I needn't change anything about my using the terms interchangeably (with a tendency towards "moral", but that might be my occidental nature ;-) ).
Of course, economics and politics can be and are moral/ethical issues too.
Regarding "religious viewpoint", I think that this is a ploy to dismiss an argument by declaring it a "merely religious" viewpoint, when in fact most the point labelled this way have to do little with religion (abortion being the most outrageous case). 22:11, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Intro was incoherent

I just cut most of the intro out, so I thought I would defend why. Roughly 75% of the introduction consisted of a convoluted discussion of what is meant by "church," with some digression into the whether or not various religions are centralized. If we want to include all this text, we ought to make it a great deal more coherent than it was. But I don't think we need it at all. The phrase is defined perfectly well in the original intro. I cut:

The text read Some denominations trace the principle back to the founding of Christianity 2000 years ago. The term "church" refers to religions and religious institutions in general and their relationship to government; in countries with religions more predominant than Christianity, the words mosque, temple, or synagogue are often substituted. However, the "church" is far more similar to the religious institutions of other monotheistic faiths. Other religions (such as The Baha'i Faith, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Confucianism, Shinto, Sikhism, Jainism, and hundreds of animist faiths) have religious institutions with varying levels of authority within the faith. For example, there is no centralized Hindu "temple," in the way that there is a centralized Roman Catholic Church. There is no contemporary dominant authoritative body for Taoists, Confucianists or Muslims. There is no similarity between religious institutions even inside monotheism.

Peace out. Ethan Mitchell 22:18, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

Changed USA Voucher info

Schools that qualify for vouchers may or may not have religious affilations, but the original sentense implied vouchers would apply only to religious schools. The original intent was to give options to students in schools that were in the lower 50% of the nation and option for better schooling, not just religious schooling. Many SECULAR private schools still exist.

Confusion Between ACLU and Clarence Thomas

In the "United States of America" subsection of "Countries with separation," the ACLU's view and Clarence Thomas' seem to be the same, which confused me upon reading it. As is, both the ACLU and Thomas hold to the view that "no government can blatantly favor one faith or church over the others, or favor belief in God or the Supreme being over non-belief."eudaemonic3 04:08, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Subsection removal: American activism against separation

I have removed this subsection. It appears to be irrelevant to this article.

The first sentence of this article reads, "The separation of church and state is a political doctrine which states that the institutions of the state or national government should be kept separate from those of religious institutions." As I understand it, the idea is to keep government out of religious affairs and out of the affairs of religious institutions. As I understand it, the idea is not to keep religiously-grounded ideas, religious organizations, or religiously-motivated organizations or individuals out of political affairs. I don't see that ano of the cites websites advocating ending separation of church and state, in America or elsewhere.

===American activism against separation===
Their About us page says: WallBuilders is an organization dedicated to presenting America's forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which America was built—a foundation which, in recent years, has been seriously attacked and undermined.
Their About us page says, in part: The Christian Coalition of America offers people of faith the vehicle to be actively involved in shaping their government - from the County Courthouse to the halls of Congress.
Their website describes their Mission as: Focus on the Family's Mission Statement: To cooperate with the Holy Spirit in disseminating the Gospel of Jesus Christ to as many people as possible, and, specifically, to accomplish that objective by helping to preserve traditional values and the institution of the family.
Their website says: The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is committed to insuring the ongoing viability of constitutional freedoms. By specializing in constitutional law, the ACLJ is dedicated to the concept that freedom and democracy are God-given inalienable rights that must be protected. The ACLJ engages in litigation, provides legal services, renders advice, counsels clients, provides education, and supports attorneys who are involved in defending the religious and civil liberties of Americans.
Their website describes their mission as: To inform, equip, motivate, and support Christians; enabling them to defend and implement the Biblical principles on which our country was founded.
As far as I could figure it out (not far), their website is focused on religious evangelism. -- Boracay Bill 18:59, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Further comment re the meaning of Separation in this article

After having made the subsection removal described above, I see on more careful reading that some parts of this article are written as if barring religiously-motivated persons and/or organizations from participating in government and/or in politics does fall within the definition of Separation of church and state for purposes of this article. I would disagree, but I think that the article less than crystal clear about this. -- Boracay Bill 23:27, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

I second that. :) --Noypi380 08:08, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

Substantial bias in this article, lack of citations, wide-spread weasel wording

CBadSurf 19:23, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Numerous areas of this article need to be reworked. Almost every section has weasel wording, shows a bias, or does not present citations to primary sources. In addition typographical errors in the article lead me to question the amount of care taken in authorship.

Some examples are:

"In fact, among the framers of the U.S. Constitution there were actually remarkably few devout religious men." No citation is given for this, and even if one was, how can you prove it objectively? Was a survey conducted? A vote taken? Thomas Jefferson was a deist -- could he not have been a devout deist?

"The colected (sic) writings of most of America's Founding Fathers show that these were men who were far more concerned with secular pursuits, than religious ones." Note misspelling. This is a biased statement with no objective relationship to the article. Again, there is no citation for this. The "collected writing" -- what writings exactly are you referring to? The "Founding Fathers" -- who do you include in this category (Please do not include US Grant)

"Most were worldly, well-eductated (sic) men - they were lawyers, businessmen, soldiers, diplomats, and even scientists." Note misspelling. Is this article saying that well-educated lawyers, businessmen, soldiers diplomats and scientists cannot be devoutly religious? For example, Blaise Pascal? This is so obviously not the case that this statement takes on a very biased viewpoint.

These are just a few examples. I am new to this article, but I miss the objectivity and neutrality present in most wikipedia articles.

I agree. I've made a start, because I dislike that this article has become a chest-pounding session for people from both sides of the divide. Collard 06:27, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
I'm done cleaning up the "America's Founding Fathers" section. Good enough? Collard 14:16, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

It's utterly wrong...most of the Founders were most likely Christian in their beliefs. It'd take some work but you'd have to read up on each one to really see. For example, Washington was active in whichever church he attended, holding offices including vestryman. He was also a Mason which requires a belief in a Deity and the basic acknowledgement of the tenants of Jesus Christ to reach the 3rd Degree. Jefferson was a deist but he became more devout as he aged. About the only "Founder" who was truly not a Christian was probably Thomas Paine.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Culmo80 (talkcontribs) 19:23, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

  • You are of course forgetting Benjamin Franklin, who can't be seriously considered a Christian; he was a religious skeptic who was good friends with Voltaire.--Isotope23 20:16, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
  • No one is arguing that specific individuals were, or were not Christians. The issue here was that the blanket statement in the article, that there were "were actually remarkably few devout religious men," had no empirical basis in fact. [[CBadSurf 18:14, 16 December 2006 (UTC)]]

United Kingdom

The reference to the united Kingdom is a little misleading, it's not enough to say that there is an established Church in the United Kingdom. The Anglican Church is the estaplished church only in England. The Episcopal Churches elsewhere in the UK (Church in Wales, Church of Ireland, and the Scotish Episcopal Church) are not established. The (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland is established in Scotland, elsewhere in the UK there is a separation of Church and State. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 149.254.200.224 (talk) 00:33, 9 December 2006 (UTC).


Substantial bias in this article, lack of citations, wide-spread weasel wording

CBadSurf 19:23, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Numerous areas of this article need to be reworked. Almost every section has weasel wording, shows a bias, or does not present citations to primary sources. In addition typographical errors in the article lead me to question the amount of care taken in authorship.

Some examples are:

"In fact, among the framers of the U.S. Constitution there were actually remarkably few devout religious men." No citation is given for this, and even if one was, how can you prove it objectively? Was a survey conducted? A vote taken? Thomas Jefferson was a deist -- could he not have been a devout deist?

    • This is no longer in the current version of the article. Collard 08:16, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

"The colected (sic) writings of most of America's Founding Fathers show that these were men who were far more concerned with secular pursuits, than religious ones." Note misspelling. This is a biased statement with no objective relationship to the article. Again, there is no citation for this. The "collected writing" -- what writings exactly are you referring to? The "Founding Fathers" -- who do you include in this category (Please do not include US Grant)

"Most were worldly, well-eductated (sic) men - they were lawyers, businessmen, soldiers, diplomats, and even scientists." Note misspelling. Is this article saying that well-educated lawyers, businessmen, soldiers diplomats and scientists cannot be devoutly religious? For example, Blaise Pascal? This is so obviously not the case that this statement takes on a very biased viewpoint.

    • See above. :) Collard 08:16, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

These are just a few examples. I am new to this article, but I miss the objectivity and neutrality present in most wikipedia articles.

I agree. I've made a start, because I dislike that this article has become a chest-pounding session for people from both sides of the divide. Collard 06:27, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
I'm done cleaning up the "America's Founding Fathers" section. Good enough? Collard 14:16, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

It's utterly wrong...most of the Founders were most likely Christian in their beliefs. It'd take some work but you'd have to read up on each one to really see. For example, Washington was active in whichever church he attended, holding offices including vestryman. He was also a Mason which requires a belief in a Deity and the basic acknowledgement of the tenants of Jesus Christ to reach the 3rd Degree. Jefferson was a deist but he became more devout as he aged. About the only "Founder" who was truly not a Christian was probably Thomas Paine.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Culmo80 (talkcontribs) 19:23, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

  • You are of course forgetting Benjamin Franklin, who can't be seriously considered a Christian; he was a religious skeptic who was good friends with Voltaire.--Isotope23 20:16, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
  • No one is arguing that specific individuals were, or were not Christians. The issue here was that the blanket statement in the article, that there were "were actually remarkably few devout religious men," had no empirical basis in fact. [[CBadSurf 18:14, 16 December 2006 (UTC)]]

Argument removed

Can anyone find an example of this being used as an argument against church-state separation?

  • The requirement that public school teachers profess Christianity during the country's first 100 years

Not only can I not find any source for this argument being used, this seems rather counter-historical to me. America's public schools, AFAIK, were (and still are) being operated by authorities in each state. It seems difficult to believe that every state had such a requirement.

So I've removed this argument, but if this argument really is being used, it would only be fair to re-instate it.

Please remove the section "secular arguments against separation

It only contains one sentence and only presents the opinion of one man. Realistically, almost all believers in secular government support the separation of church and state. I'm going to remove it anyway. User:66.177.138.113 19:14, 10 April 2005

No, it is a valid point and it is not held only by Maurras but by many others as well. Actually it is the conservative (in the sense of political philosophy around 1800) take on religion and was turned upside-down by Marxism. Though not all proponents of this view were downright atheists, as Maurras was, many were merely conventional Christians, e.g. Metternich. They advocated Christianity because it was "respectable" and "decent" to do so, but not out of a deep faith.
You say, "almost all believers in secular government support the separation of church and state", but this is either historically questionable (and what is almost all? - so they were others?) or redudant.
What do you mean by secular government? One can very well argue that any government is secular since it deals with secular things. Or is a secular government one separated from religious bodies? Then your statement is redundant. And what is separation? In a way Christianity is the inventor of a separation of the two powers (Gelasius, Augustine, Jesus himself) Hence this section must be included.Str1977 16:34, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

Old talk

Oh really? that may be true, but constitutional law is little compared to the socialistic notions and "laws" used by societies today. They are more influential, and it can be agreed that most countries advocate separation of church and state. So either way, this article is wrong, but it's worth a point. -- UnidentifiedSpeaker

Excuse me, but Portugal, France, Turkey and Mexico are the only four nations with a valid and CONSTITUTIONAL law separating the State from the Church. So this article is partly wrong. -- PedroTeles
Why is this sentence in the article: "In addition to the ban on Congress establishing an official state religion, the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution bans the individual states from establishing an official state religion as well." I find no such wording in the Fourteenth Amendment. The clostest thing I could find was this: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." Where does this come from? I haven't seen it anywhere else. -- Anonymous

Separation of church and state is NOT a constitutional law outside the United States

As the text in the article makes clear by summarizing the laws in several countries, the separation of church and state is NOT a constitutional law--except in the United States.

Actually, the Constitution of France enforces the concept of laïcité, which implies the separation of Church and State. David.Monniaux 08:28, 28 Apr 2004 (UTC)

This is also true of Canada where several laws regarding the permissability of religion in public schools have been struck down on constitutional grounds. For example,On September 23, l988, in response to a court challenge, the Ontario Court of Appeal struck down subsection 28(1) of Regulation 262, which had allowed public schools to open or close the school day with religious exercises that gave primacy to a particular faith. In response to another legal challenge brought by a group of parents in Elgin County, on January 30, 1990, the Ontario Court of Appeal struck down subsection 28(4) of Regulation 262, which concerned the teaching of religion in the public elementary schools. The court held subsection 28(4) to be invalid in public schools because it permitted the teaching of a single religious tradition as if it were the exclusive means through which to develop moral thinking and behaviour. The court also ruled, however, that education designed to teach about religion and to foster moral values, without indoctrination in a particular religious faith, would not contravene the charter.

The court elaborated on the differences between indoctrination and education in the following manner:

1. The school may sponsor the study of religion, but may not sponsor the practice of religion. 2. The school may expose students to all religious views, but may not impose any particular view. 3. The school's approach to religion is one of instruction, not one of indoctrination. 4. The function of the school is to educate about all religions, not to convert to any one religion. 5. The school's approach is academic, not devotional. 6. The school should study what all people believe, but should not teach a student what to believe. 7. The school should strive for student awareness of all religions, but should not press for student acceptance of any one religion. 8. The school should seek to inform the student about various beliefs, but should not seek to conform him or her to any one belief

The current first sentence reads:

The separation of church and state is a concept in constitutional law wherein the functions of government are kept separate from those of religion.

I suggest that the current first sentence be corrected to remove the inaccuracies and severe United States bias that are in the current first sentence. Rednblu 19:19, 1 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Generally, the separation of church and state is constitutional law, whether it be expressed explicitly in a written constitution (like the USA, France and Australia) or whether it is a convention of an unwritten constitution (like the UK and New Zealand). I'm not aware of any state that separates itself from the church through legislation, but if this were the case, the constitutonal focus of the article should be adapted.--Cyberjunkie 13:57, 6 Apr 2005 (UTC)


the phrase "separation of church and state" is not mentioned in the Constitution of the United States —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.104.219.139 (talkcontribs) 09:01 November 6, 2008

The title of this section is: "Separation of church and state is NOT a constitutional law outside the United States". In regard to that, please refer to Article II, Section 6 of the constitution of the Philippines, which reads: "The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable.". -- Boracay Bill (talk) 23:04, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

Stable separation?

Why is Britain listed as having a stable separation? While it is true that the two are not the same, the monarch is also the head of the established church - can we change the title?2toise 06:58, 30 Oct 2003 (UTC)

By that token, why is the U.S. listed as not having a stable separation? What the hell does "stable" separation mean anyway? Whose opinion is that? This division and the classifications made therein make little or no sense. Daniel Quinlan 22:37, Nov 20, 2003 (UTC)
The US doesn't have a monarch, by that "token." Makes sense to me. --69.214.227.51 06:07, 6 Apr 2005 (UTC)


Article structure and new header on History

This is the first I've visted this page, and don't know how active or watched/maintained it is but I added a history section on the history of the seperation of church and state. My background is medieval so have no plans to fill out the Ancient or Modern history articles but created the sub-headings just in case (they don't need to be there). Also notice that the article is 32k long, it would make sense to start breaking stuff out to sub-articles with main article and summary paragraphs (see First Crusade for an example); the 3 "Country" chapters would make a good sub-article. --Stbalbach 07:36, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Rebutle: Yeas, but it is important that people undertsand that it isnt actually a law. Otherwise people may sound like idiots if the reference it. --Poster Unknown

Why is the list of stable state churches so short?

Surely many other countries could be included. E.g., Greece. Michael Hardy 22:52, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Biases and omissions

I've tagged the article as having a limited geographic scope, as there are a lot more noteworthy countries.

I've also noticed that this article is almost exclusively about Christianity. There is a lot of activity on the church-state front in the Islamic world, and there is plenty of source material available online from the State Department and the news media. I'm thinking some good subjects would include Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia (given the strong relations with the United States), and Iraq (which is in an extremely interesting state of flux right now), and there is plenty of source material available online from the State Department and the news media. I've created a redirect to here from "Separation of mosque and state", and made a trivial contribution to coverage of Islam.

It would also be very interesting to hear about countries dominated by other religions or non-religions, especially, say, China, India, Israel, Vietnam, North Korea. One other subtle bias is that only advocacy groups for separation are listed, none against. -- Beland 21:51, 6 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I followed a link to here when reading about the New Komeito Party of Japan. I don't really understand why this article shouldn't be titled "Separation of religion and state" when this article covers an international scope already. While "church and state" is more common colloquially, that should be relegated to a redirect title rather than the main article title because it's misleading -- no state actually separates itself from Christianity only but they all separate themselves from any form of religion.--69.214.227.51 05:08, 6 Apr 2005 (UTC)
That's actually a very valid point. "Church" does imply that Christianity is the topic of discussion. Perhaps the article should be put up for renaming. However, there are issues arising from designating the article "Separation of religion and state" too. How broad are we to consider 'religion'? Religion does not necessarily mean organised religion, which is what is separated from the state. For religion itself to be separated from the state, the religiosity of certain politicians of supposedly secular states would be illegal, would it not?--Cyberjunkie 13:50, 6 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Not really. --69.214.227.51 16:18, 6 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Speaking of geographical bias, why is there a link right at the top to "Separation of church and state in the United States" instead of in the "See Also" section? A lot of the article as it is seems to refer to the United states only and could use a cleanup. Sajendra 02:18, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

I'm currently doing some work on reorganizing the article based on the general points I suggested here. I think the reason the link is at the top is because the term primarily is from the U.S., whereas other countries tend to describe their religion/government issues in different terms (whether laicite, secularism, disestablishment or what). That's also why I'm doing more to acknowledge that, and will hopefully be able to include a bit greater discussion of the specific issues of U.S. "separation," while focusing less on general "secularism and theocracy" issues, which I think are more effectively discussed in the articles by those names (and then possibly summarized here). Ultimately then we wouldn't need the link at the top; my suggestion was that the United States article potentially be renamed into "History of Church/State Issues in the U.S.," or something similar, since that's primarily what it covers (and because I'm not sure the current U.S./International distinction totally holds up). Another article on church/state issues internationally could certainly also be created, my suggestion then would only be to avoid the Jeffersonian phrase. In any case, I'd still certainly welcome other views on this, while hoping people aren't too perturbed by the changes so far. Mackan79 07:47, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
I just want to point out Article II Section 6 of the current Philippine constitution: "The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable." The RP having a lot of history in common with the US may explain this to some extent, or the phrase may be used more widely than you suggest -- I don't know. -- Boracay Bill 01:50, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
That's interesting, I hadn't seen that. I certainly don't mean to say the phrase is never used internationally either; really, my guess is that this will increase with globalization and all, and some European countries finally disestablishing their state churches. I'm still pretty confident that authors currently tend to avoid that use, though, if only to show their own recognition of its American roots.


There are also practical problems, since if you're talking about separation, you should really be talking about separation. In that case you'd have to say countries like Denmark don't have any separation, even though it's of course a very secular country. That's interesting in a way, but somewhat misleading as a general discussion of government/religion relations in Denmark, or in a lot of other countries where the degree of secularism is probably the more useful guide. In a lot of those countries, "separation" has simply never been the issue, which does make the idea rather America-centric.
If I may say, though, I think the new international history section, particularly the "Modern" portion, gives a much more grounded view of the international scene, no? This makes sense to me, to explain the concept according to its American roots, and then how it applies in other countries. Even if we wanted the discussion completely international from the beginning, that might just confuse the topic, by taking it out of the realm in which most people discuss the issues. It's an interesting issue with Wikipedia, I think, whether everything should be discussed on an international level, or if "international perspectives" is kind of a separate issue of its own (most scholars tend to write more narrowly, after all). That's where I'm coming from, anyway. Mackan79 15:03, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
Mackan79, I disagree with your statement that "the term primarily is from the U.S.". In France the 1905 act of parliament on this issue is known as "Loi du 9 décembre 1905 relative à la séparation des Églises et de l'État". The expression "Separation of church and state" is commonly used in France, not just "laïcité". Therefore I support the view that the article has a strong US bias and that most of it, including most of the first chapter beyond the first sentence should be moved to Separation of church and state in the United States. --F Sykes 12:30, 11 September 2007 (UTC)
That's true about France; on the other hand, it was still more than a century after the term originated in the U.S., and is still not the primary phrase used in France to my knowledge. We also have a separate article on laicite in France (and Turkey) which seems to make sense, since it is largely a different system than in the U.S. Can we point to other countries where this phrase is used? I stand by that I could find many sources supporting that this is a U.S. centric phrase, derived specifically from a letter by Thomas Jefferson describing the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I think the problem remains that we don't have a great article discussing religion/government interaction internationally, but that still doesn't justify ignoring the American roots of this concept. Incidentally, even if we want this article to be entirely international, it would still have to acknowledge that both the specific concept and phrase originated in the U.S. Not that the current organization is perfect; I think we do still need a better way of discussing the international issues, but only that a totally egalitarian discussion under this title doesn't work. Mackan79 13:06, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

"Weasel words"

The part about Egypt caught my eye "Despite the fact that Egypt is a predominantly Islamic population, most would agree that the Coptic Orthodox Church is the unofficial state church of Egypt." It seems to justify it later on, which makes me wary of removing this out of hand. Anyone else have thoughts on this? 68.39.174.238 04:47, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

There are those who believe every person has the right to live under government that agrees with their core beliefs. This has led back to the idea of Localized Church Government. If Localized Church Government were to be applied in America every county would decide how they wanted to be affiliated with the church. This would, according to its supporters, lead to greater religious freedom for everyone. "The state religion is this way and if you don’t like it you can leave.":
There are also people who believe the government should take an active role in eliminating religion. These people believe that it is impossible to keep the "superstitions" and "religious prejudices" out of the government and that the "superstitions" and "religious prejudices" are harmful to society. The only way to solve the problem of religion, according to these people, is to get rid of religion. They often point to freedom of choice. While many secularists think abortion is fine most religious groups condemn it and are trying to get it outlawed. Religious groups are often against homosexual marriage, pornography, relaxed sex laws, prostitutes, euthanasia, and gambling; things many others see as being human rights.:

This entire section is basically weasel words. "There are those who believe", "There are also people who believe", etc. Pretty much EXACTLY what the weasel words article tells you not to write.

--Kraftlos 07:54, 3 January 2007 (UTC) I removed this section because it had some weasel-words and because I didn't think it was exactly relevant or well-written. Firstly I don't think that this is the argument religious organizations are using to support this view, also I feel that although it doesn't contain any obvious weasel-words, the view of the author is apparent in the text.

Some religious organizations in America believe that prayer in the schools will improve the morals of American children, and maintain that the inability of public school officials to conduct prayers in school does not protect religion but rather harms religion.

Religious schools in Canada

...in fact, many non-Catholics (and non-Christians) prefer these schools for either the quality of education or the opportunity to be educated in an environment where morality and spirituality are not excluded.

Does this sentence implicitly state that non-(Catholic)religious schools are immoral since they provide an environment where morality and spirituality are excluded? Please excuse my imperfect grasp of English if that is not the case. Illythr 19:47, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

If no one responds to this, we should remove that sentence. Completely POV and unnecessary.

You sure it's better that way? "Exposure to religion"? And what's up with that deleted chunk about other arguments against separation? --Illythr 19:58, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

The entire other chunk was speculation and weaseling. Read the above discussion topic.

Separation of Church and State a Myth?

I am not what you might call a religionist.I do believe however, that the doctrine of the separation of Church and State is a political myth. On the one hand, religion is always concerned with society as a whole, not just what happens within houses of worship. On the other, politicians will always be concerned to appeal to the religious and spiritual sentiments of voters. Here in Australia, the Prime Minister has inveighed against gay marriage, invitro fertilisation, encouraged a debate about abortion, and recently (and disastrously) named a former Anglican bishop as Governor-General of Australia. He is a committed Christian. No, the priests are still working behind the scenes

Gax 20-6-06

No mention of Mark 12:13

[3]

Jesus was a proponent of separation of church and state! I can't believe this isn't under 'religious arguments for separation'. I wanted to take it up here before adding anything about it. Joffeloff 11:10, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

We would need an outside source who, themselves, made such an argument based on the bible. We can't cite the bible ourselves, as to do so would be original research, not to mention POV. Interpretation is a subjective matter. Kasreyn 11:31, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
What I meant was that surely, someone must've used this earlier, and sure enough:
  • [4] - this blogger/somethingorother gets an email from someone using the verse as an argument, and responds to it
  • [5] - this woman argues that Jesus accepted the 'worldly' (secular) governments and uses the verse as an example
  • [6] - this person notes that it is often used as an argument by 'liberals'.
  • [7] - it is used here; 'But Jesus drew a clear distinction between the Church and the State, as he did between the kingdoms of the earth and the Kingdom of Heaven. He asked his followers to give their obedience to the state in secular affairs, and obedience to God in spiritual affairs.'
Etc. Perhaps it should be listed under a different category, since it seems religious people are hesitant to interpret it this way. Joffeloff 17:24, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
Martin Luther used the parallel reading in Matthew 22:21 (and lots of other scripture references) as an argument for a separation in his On Secular Authority: how far does the Obedience owed to it extend? [8]: If the emperor's power extended to God's kingdom and God's power, and were not something distinct and separate, there would be no point in distinguishing the two. But, as has been said, the soul is not subject to the emperor's power. He can neither teach nor guide it; he cannot kill it or bring it to life; he cannot bind or loose it, judge it or sentence it, hold it or release it. And yet he would need to [be competent to do all of these] if he were to have the power to legislate for it and issue orders to it. But as to goods and honor, here is his proper domain. For such things are subject to his power. Apus 13:57, 28 September 2006 (UTC)


status in Israel- Jewish nationality vs. ethnicity

This section explains the common misconception about Israel being a "Jewish State." What is meant by "Jewish State", as explained in the section is the National sense, i.e. the state of the Jewish nation, similar to Italy being "the Italian state" and the Netherlands beign "The Dutch State".

The confusion derives from the ambiguity of the term "Jewish" that refers both to nationality, as in this case, and to religion. "Jewish" can also mean a general ethinicity but in this case it is not merely ethnicity that is relevent but the view that "Jewish" is in fact a nationality and that thus Israel is the Jewish Nation- the Jewish State. So, changing the term nationality into "ethincity" really misses the whole point of the esssence of Israel in the National sense.

Furthermore, the view that the Jewish people form their own nationality is in fact the raison d'être of the State of Israel.

Also, the fact that the State's name and the nationality are not derived from the same root doesn't change the fact that Israel is the manifestaion of the Jewish Nationality, similar to the way the Netherlands are to the Dutch. The citizens of Israel regardless of ethnicity are Israeli, but their nationality is Jewish (except in the case of the minorities which have in fact a double nationality, the "Israeli" political nationality and the ethnic nationality that is unique to their group.)

Understanding the differences between these terms is esssential for one to understand Israel's declaration of independence that states Israel is a "Jewish state" in which their shall be equality "Regardless of religion, race, and sex," and in which there will be complete religious freedom etc. Tal :) 10:56, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

incorrect factuality

"Harmony of Church and state"

Is this an official designation of some sort? Because it's currently but a redirect to state religion, something I certainly wouldn't call a "harmony". And it looks a bit POV'ish, too. --Illythr 08:55, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

Resources

I would find it helpful to see a section listing some non-Internet sources of information about this issue (i.e. books, documentaries, etc.) Bryan H Bell 21:08, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Rename proposal

In fact, I am going one step further and propose that this article be renamed Relations between religions and states, since it concerns primarily how religion in certain countries are related to the respective states that they are located, there are mentions of countries that have religious influences in state, like Greece, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The French version that is interwikied is titled Rapports entre Etats et réligions, which means what I proposed above.. The current title should be a redirect. I feel that the current title shows systemic bias and the intro is kinda weaselly. It really does sound weird to talk about religion in Saudi Arabia under "seperation of church and state". See my post directly above about the use of "church" not being appropriate and showing systemic bias. It would also sound weird if we renamed the "sep of church and state in the US" article to "sep of mosque and state in the US" while claiming that mosque is used figuratively. I am atheist, so it is not because I am particularly offended or anything, it is just logical and rectifies the systemic bias that I mentioned. Just because that's how it was written in the US Constitution 200 years ago doesn't mean we have to do so today in Wikipedia. :))) Baristarim 03:24, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Support

  • Support. I feel this is the right thing to do. Laicity is a concept, from which its followers try to define how the state should deal with religious questions. The actual system in place in a given state is a compromise that is reached, it may be inspired by laicity but cannot embody it. --Josce 16:30, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Qualified Support I very much agree that using the word "Church" is ethnocentric, but don't think the proposed title gets it completely right. How about "Separation of religion and government"? Elizmr 22:10, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Support either, if we use v.1, there is room for more scope, if v.2, more narrow scope. Either has great possibilities. Excellent idea, Baristarim. KillerChihuahua?!? 23:32, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Support Either proposed title is fine. Seperation of Church and State may be appropriate for the US article since that is the wording from the Constitution but for this article I agree it should be less ethnocentric. Luke C 12:33, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. The new proposed title name can accomodate both the "separation of church and state" from Anglo-saxon tradition (US and UK), and laicite from the continental European tradition (France) as well as the Levantine tradition (Turkey, Lebanon). The proposed article would also be a good complementing reference for state secularism. Relations between religions and states sounds great to me, and the proposed title clarifies SO many things for a reader. --Noypi380 01:30, 1 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Support the title Seperation of religion and government as it's just weird to talk about Islam, etc, with the article titled as it is. Veesicle (Talk) (Contribs) 13:32, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Oppose

  • Strongly Oppose This article does indeed refer to how separation of church and state has affected many countries, but the name "Relations between religions and states" pretty much isolates the rest of the article. In fact, the actual legal principle (at least in the United States) is called "Separation of Church and State." In France, it may be called laïcité. It really doesn't matter. It all still is forms of separation of church and state.Diez2 00:43, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose I don't have a horse in this race, and I understand that the rename would not impact searching for the article under the old name since the old name would be left in place as a redirect. However, The article does not speak to relations between Religions and States. It speaks to the extent interference in the operation of religious institutions by the State. It does not speak to interference in or influence on State affairs by religious organizations. Also, I note that Category:Separation of church and state exists and is pretty well populated. Also, I note that a Google search for articles with the phrase "church and state" in their title turns up 10 or so articles. -- Boracay Bill 10:06, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Strongly Oppose Diez2 and Boracay Bill said it better tan I could. -- weirdoactor t|c 02:18, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose People know what the concept "separation of church and state" means. "Relations between religions and states" isn't really a common phrase. If people are going to look up this subject on wikipedia, they're going to look up separation of church and state. Keeping the name is then a matter of making wikipedia easier to navigate.NorthernFalcon 01:50, 28 July 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose' The relationship between religion and government is different from the concept of "separation of church and state". Colonel Marksman (talk) 10:25, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Comments

Like Baristarim, I think a title including an appreciation as "separation" involves a bias. What is interesting is to study what links are allowed or prohibited btwn politics and religion in different states -- e.g., Germany has strictly regulated links. Then, there's the minor question about choosing btwn "state" and "government", I think "state" is better (e.g. federal states, and also civil servants are not always understood as belonging to the "government"). --131.111.17.49 09:16, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
This was placed between Elizmr's support and mine, is it intended to be a support position? and if so, of what title? KillerChihuahua?!? 09:26, 18 October 2006 (UTC)


Please, can we approach a consensus soon? This was proposed almost a full month ago.Diez2 00:43, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

Size

This article is ridiculously huge. Large articles discourages reading for many, and only makes it harder to maintain and manage. I suggest this either be broken down into sub-articles, or the minute and microscopic details of the subject matter be extinguished. Colonel Marksman 03:29, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

I am afraid that my recent edits have made the article even larger. What the edits did, generally, was to add mention of countries which had main articles bearing on this but which had not been mentioned here. A couple of thoughts struck me while I was doing these edits:
  • The countries listed in the article are broken int two main sections: Countries with separation and Countries with national or state churches. It strikes me that these two categories are not necessarily the converse of one another -- that there are some examples of countries with national religions but where governmental meddling in religious matters is insignificant.
  • A quick method of reducing the size of this article would be to eliminate internal discussion of individual countries, instead simply listing countries which have relevent Wiki main articles and providing links to those main articles. Countries where some discussion is appropriate but which currently do not have relevent main articles would need to have such articles created in order to be maintioned here. -- Boracay Bill 04:41, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Forked. Three country sections are Status of religious freedom by country. --Noypi380 04:46, 12 November 2006 (UTC)


Substantial bias in this article, lack of citations, wide-spread weasel wording

CBadSurf 19:23, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Numerous areas of this article need to be reworked. Almost every section has weasel wording, shows a bias, or does not present citations to primary sources. In addition typographical errors in the article lead me to question the amount of care taken in authorship.

Some examples are:

"In fact, among the framers of the U.S. Constitution there were actually remarkably few devout religious men." No citation is given for this, and even if one was, how can you prove it objectively? Was a survey conducted? A vote taken? Thomas Jefferson was a deist -- could he not have been a devout deist?

    • This is no longer in the current version of the article. Collard 08:17, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

"The colected (sic) writings of most of America's Founding Fathers show that these were men who were far more concerned with secular pursuits, than religious ones." Note misspelling. This is a biased statement with no objective relationship to the article. Again, there is no citation for this. The "collected writing" -- what writings exactly are you referring to? The "Founding Fathers" -- who do you include in this category (Please do not include US Grant)

"Most were worldly, well-eductated (sic) men - they were lawyers, businessmen, soldiers, diplomats, and even scientists." Note misspelling. Is this article saying that well-educated lawyers, businessmen, soldiers diplomats and scientists cannot be devoutly religious? For example, Blaise Pascal? This is so obviously not the case that this statement takes on a very biased viewpoint.

    • See above. :) Collard 08:17, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

These are just a few examples. I am new to this article, but I miss the objectivity and neutrality present in most wikipedia articles.

I agree. I've made a start, because I dislike that this article has become a chest-pounding session for people from both sides of the divide. Collard 06:27, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
And now I've done about as much of the cleanup as I care to do (see edit history...). Someone else want to step in and help? :/ Collard 08:17, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

I've done a bit of editing, and I will attempt to find some citations for more of the content, as time allows. Rakordubrovic 21:49, 6 March 2007 (UTC)Rakordubrovic 3-5-2007

United Kingdom

The reference to the united Kingdom is a little misleading, it's not enough to say that there is an established Church in the United Kingdom. The Anglican Church is the estaplished church only in England. The Episcopal Churches elsewhere in the UK (Church in Wales, Church of Ireland, and the Scotish Episcopal Church) are not established. The (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland is established in Scotland, elsewhere in the UK there is a separation of Church and State. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 149.254.200.224 (talk) 00:33, 9 December 2006 (UTC).


AiD Nomination

This article has been nominated (again) for an AiD drive. Please go to WP:AID and vote for this article if you want a lot of help repairing the broken state of this article. Diez2 00:01, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

NPOV dispute over Jefferson

I've invited User:Mactographer and User:Jonathunder to discuss recent edit+reverts. Mactographer prefers a certain paragraph to read thusly:

Despite his use of the phrase, the Library of Congress has provided copious documentation to demonstrate that Jefferson (and other early administrations) had no objection to (and even supported) church meetings within Capitol buildings and chambers. Rather, they claim that by using the term wall of separation between Church and State, "...Jefferson was apparently declaring his opposition, as Madison had done in introducing the Bill of Rights, to a "national" religion."

Jonathunder prefers (and the wording I first used to trim down a longer discussion about Jefferson/early American history which I didn't feel belonged here):

Despite his use of the phrase, the Library of Congress claims that other evidence shows Jefferson had no objection to "symbolic support to religion as a prop for republican government". Rather, the claim is that by upholding "separation of church and state", he objected to a state supported church, as is practiced by Britain with its official recognition of the Church of England.

This is about to break through the three-revert rule, so it'd be nice if we could come to some consensus on this. :)

Collard 20:57, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

  • Greetings Jonathunder and Collard. I thank you for the invitation to discuss this issue. My original edits to both this and this article were as follows below:


===Practices of the Jefferson and Madison administrations===
Despite the contemporary claims that Jefferson and Madison were strict proponents of the concept of separation of church and state as it is currently presented in modern debate, it is a common misconception to assume that religion was not associated with the practice of politics in early American life. In fact, the Religion and the Founding of the American Republic website exhibit at the Library of Congress states,
In fact, the Library of Congress exhibit clearly states that Jefferson apparently had no objection to non-discriminatory religion being practiced in state, but rather he objected ONLY to the formation of a state supported church – such as is practiced by Britain with her official recognition of the Church of England as the state church.[2]
Following my original submission as seen above, it was edited down to the following:
Despite his use of the phrase, the Library of Congress claims that other evidence shows Jefferson had no objection to "symbolic support to religion as a prop for republican government". Rather, the claim is that by upholding "separation of church and state", he objected to a state supported church, as is practiced by Britain with its official recognition of the Church of England.
...at which point I made the edit as you see below:
Despite his use of the phrase, the Library of Congress has provided copious documentation to demonstrate that Jefferson (and other early administrations) had no objection to (and even supported) church meetings within Capitol buildings and chambers. Rather, they claim that by using the term wall of separation between Church and State, "...Jefferson was apparently declaring his opposition, as Madison had done in introducing the Bill of Rights, to a "national" religion."
I have to say, with no offense intended to either of you or any others who take issue with me, but the LOC (among others who I can cite later) has provided more than ample evidence that a STRONG religious undercurrent was EXTREMELY evident in the contemporary times and practices of the founding fathers. To simply wipe away any notation that church services were held within the Capitol buildings until sometime after the Civil War, and that these practices were fostered (not just tolerated) by the Jefferson and Madison administrations is to be intellectually dishonest. To simply discuss Jefferson’s reply (and it’s modern interpretation) to the Danbury Baptists as if that ‘’private’’ letter was the definitive interpretation of the Establishment Clause and yet ignore historical precedent of the contemporary practices as documented by the LOC is simply an attempt to suppress the historical facts in order to promote a “contemporary” reinterpretation as pleases modern secular progressives.
Some may not LIKE the fact that Jefferson and Madison and many others attended church services ON federal property, and that this practice was carried on until sometime after the Civil War, and that it wasn’t challenged by the public or the contemporary politicians of the day, but the facts remain as they are and DESERVE a place in this encyclopedia ... if indeed this is a place to present uncensored history of the concept of separation of church and state as the founding father’s practiced it. Mactographer 22:44, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
Thank you for responding. First, if I haven't been clear enough, I am not among those who take issue with you; your edits are not factually incorrect or unverifiable. Mainly, I've fired up this discussion because I've been trying to avoid an revert war over this. (The first edit of yours to this article which I massively condensed was because it's better that such US-centric discussion is kept in Separation of church and state in the United States.
Secondly, my only concern, if there is one, is with words like "copious"; I'd rather avoid such provocative language, if only to avoid the appearance of taking sides on such a contentious issue. (Articles on controversial subjects worded in a provocative way tend to attract chest-pounders from both sides of the divide, who do not share the same interest in improving them as you and Jonathunder evidently do; so it's something I have tried very hard to avoid in my recent re-writes of this article.)
Thanks for coming to the table. :) Collard 00:00, 30 December 2006 (UTC)


Greetings again, Collard. And thanks for bringing this to the forum. If the word "copious" seems provocative, I am not adverse to changing it to “ample” or “considerable” or some other agreeable term. I do however believe a fair and scholarly presentation will include something more than, Jefferson gave "symbolic support to religion as a prop for republican government." Thus reducing the historic significance of the now greatly forgotten fact that church services were held within Capital buildings and that there is NO record of any type of objections to this practice. I believe it is painfully obvious to those who wish to dismiss this historical practice as recorded by the LOC, that it doesn’t fit in with their secular theology and they are reverting my edits simply to promote a secular POV. A modern understanding of Jefferson’s concept of separation of church and state REQUIRES that historical precedent be fairly and adequately represented. I have not removed the secular POV within this article. I have merely added WELL documented evidence which is contrary to the popular and erroneous belief among modern reinterpretors of what Jefferson’s words meant on this issue. I am only asking for intellectual honesty on this matter. Mactographer 03:40, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

Both edited paragraph versions bother me.

  • Both versions begin "Despite his use of the phrase, the Library of Congress ..." Have the reported actions of the LOC occurred in spite of Jefferson's use of the "wall of separation" phrase? I think not.
  • One edited version says "... Library of Congress claims that ...", seemingly casting the LOC into the role of a POV advocate; a role in which I doubt that the LOC sees itself.
  • The cite at the end of the para points specifically to part two of a LOC exibition on Religion and the Founding of the American Republic which, according to its overview. "explores the role religion played in the founding of the American colonies, in the shaping of early American life and politics, and in forming the American Republic". If this LOC Exibition is to be cited, it may be being viewed here through too tiny a peephole.
      • The LOC does not "say" anything - though its site does present some material. The particular material referred to here is severe POV - it is a one-sided, slanted, often misleading & even erroneous argument for a particular position. --JimWae 20:43, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Mactographer's argument that the facts remain as they are and DESERVE a place in this encyclopedia, but perhaps this page is not the place in this encyclopedia where those facts DESERVE to appear. This discussion relates to part of a subsection on the subject of the history of the term Separation of Church and State. Neither the aforementioned facts nor the disputed snippet seem to relate very strongly to that subject.

I suggest striking the disputed snippet entirely, and leaving most US-specific details to be discussed in the Separation of church and state in the United States page. -- Boracay Bill -- Boracay Bill 04:05, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

I wonder if the entire article should not be renamed and reworked. Separation of Church and State is a distinctly American term (though it has been adopted to some degree by other English speaking countries.) As such, most of this article does belong in Separation of Church and State in the United States This article would be more appropriately entitled "Religion and Government," at which point one could discuss both those countries with a state religion, and those without, as well as the underlying philosophies. But to say that this particular article is meant to discuss international separation, when so much of the discussion is directed solely at the US, is intellectually dishonest. I actually feel this article should be deleted altogether, with a redirect to Separation of Church and State in the United States and a new Religion and Government" article. CBadSurf 20:10, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

We've already had a discussion about a possible renaming above, and there was no consensus about it. No, it is not a distinctly American term; you'll find people in almost any English-speaking nation using the term. Since this is the English-language Wikipedia, and "Separation of church and state" is a common English phrase for a political/legal/religious doctrine of religion/state separation, I see it as tough trifles if someone gets their feelings hurt about some American inventing it. (I'm British, by the way.)
As for so much of the discussion being devoted to the US: meh. I am, however, alarmed that you readily accuse people of "intellectual dishonesty" for saying this article is meant to discuss international separation (or rather, an overview of the history. That is, indeed, the intent of the article, and certainly the intent of editors like myself and others; that it is not (yet) living up to its intended goals speaks no ill of anybody's honesty. Collard 05:40, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
I certainly appreciate the work you have taken on cleaning this article up -- it is much more concise and free of "chest pounding" than it was before. My reason for suggesting it be renamed (even though it did not gain consensus in October 2006, the majority was supportive) is: 1) Though this is the English language wikipedia it is used by people from many countries -- no other language even comes close i number of articles. I guess we can thank you Brits for making English the new universal language! 2) The issues of relations between government and Islam or Judaism or Hinduism or Buddhism are very interesting, and don't fit well into an article entitle "Separation between Church and State" For example, I would like to know a lot more about the influence Orthodox Jews have in Israel. And the terms "Synagogue and State" or "Mosque and State" really just don't work for me. CBadSurf 08:58, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

Okay, in lieu of a consensus here, I've done a unilateral dispute resolution (smile): The disputed material has been struck entirely (as per User:Wtmitchell). But it can and must remain in Separation of church and state in the United States, where it definitely belongs.

Mactographer, thank you for hunting down this interesting historical information. I just think it's best if US-centric discussion (and the controversy that comes with it) stays in Separation of church and state in the United States.

CBadSurf, thanks for the kind words. :) And I think the discussion of the naming of this article should be re-opened and settled for good in a fresh discussion, though I don't agree with your reasoning. Can we consider this matter closed now? Lewis Collard 19:07, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

1st Paragraph, Lock

I'm about to try and clean up the first paragraph, as requested in the ... well, request section ... but I was wondering if a lock should be placed on this article. Although I am unfamiliar with its history, obviously given the first section of the talk page (at one point it says that the article should've been cleaned up sometime in April 05) there have been problems. (Oh and by lock I mean where only advanced users can edit (no new users or non-users). Just a suggestion. Danielfolsom 21:51, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Probably a good idea to lock it. But on looking at it, I wonder if it could be made more npov. What about this: Separation of church and state is a political doctrine which states that government institutions and religious institutions should be kept separate from each other. The concept has been a topic of political debate throughout history.

The reason is that the current formulation could be interpreted that religion should be kept out of government, but that government need not be kept out of religion.

What do you think?

CBadSurf 23:32, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. Collard 23:48, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
I have made the update. Why don't you lock it if no one disagrees by tomorrow? CBadSurf 03:52, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Intro Picture

As to the picture in the introduction, I don't really see a parallel between Jesus and the money changers and modern governmental policy, especially since that story took place within a religious milieu (the temple).

But then why use an image that draws a parallel rather than one about the topic at hand? If no one objects I'm going to replace it.

Sorry if this was discussed previously, but I didn't see it. Bantosh 19:50, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

No objection here. I don't see the connection either. Lewis Collard 19:31, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
No objection here either. CBadSurf 06:16, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
Two points for the first person to come up with a suitable image to replace it. :) Lewis Collard 15:48, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
Changed it, but still probably not the best it could be. At least Constantine was more directly political.Bantosh 20:13, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
...and the two points go to Bantosh. Good choice. :) Lewis Collard 20:36, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Remove NPOV tag ?

I think this article has gone through widespread and substantial improvements. As one of the editors who added an NPOV tag, I now think we can remove it. Any thoughts? CBadSurf 06:00, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

I agree. Lewis Collard 20:02, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Renaming/Merger proposal

I've just posted a suggestion here in the hope of better organizing this and related articles. For a unified discussion, perhaps any interested editors could offer their thoughts over there. Thanks, Mackan79 03:55, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the fixes. I reclarified "...the term most often refers to the combination of two principles: secularity of government and freedom of religious exercise," which I think is important, since "secularity" and "freedom of religion" are both rather general and can mean different things. Hopefully ok. Mackan79 01:12, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

There's something I don't understand about the style used throughout Wikipedia: When I look at the hyperlinked table of contents for an article, it looks like it's in an outline format. My understanding of the basic rules for creating an outline is that you never create a lone sub-topic. That is, if you are going to indent under a topic to create a sub-topic, there should be a minimum of two sub-topics; otherwise it is one topic and so does not need a sub-topic. In this outline table of contents in this article that style appears in the "Enactment" section of the table of contents, which has a single sub-topic named "4.1 Varying views". 71.133.178.56 03:52, 21 April 2007 (UTC)Joe Cash

see WP:GTL#Body_sections and WP:MSH -- Boracay Bill 23:27, 21 April 2007 (UTC)


Thank you for your response; but I have to admit, I still don't see why. To reiterate: if an outline entry has a sub-topic, then it should not be the only sub-topic. My reasoning is that the outline form is useful for creating a "top-down" design for a paper or a program, or many kinds of projects. Wikipedia is setting de-facto standards for style, I think. Exemplifying bad outlining style may cripple planning ability on a large scale, while exemplifying good planning skills for a broad audience could have vast ramifications. Of course a topic in an outline ought to be expanded upon when it is worthwhile, but to divide a topic into one "part" by creating a single sub-topic abuses the notion of "part". Something that has only one "part" does not have parts at all, it is a unit. Let me apoligize if I don't see the reasons for this in the WP style guide even though it is staring me in the face; but the only thing I could see was that the outline TOC is created automatically sometimes from headings. If that is the case, and I am correct in what I am saying here, then perhaps a syle rule should be added to encourage editors to make sure good outlining style is followed. I hope I'm not being too pedantic, but I think planning skills are very important, and WIkipedia is already a huge influence and I think its influence will grow quickly.

69.225.233.121 01:43, 22 April 2007 (UTC)Joe Cash

Not to be argumentative, but it is not clear to me that whatever authority you are relying upon for your basic rules for creating an outline should necessarily override de-facto wikipedia style guidelines with which it conflicts. May be; may be not. In any case, this is not a good venue in which to hold a discussion about that. Perhaps Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style_(headings) or Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy). -- Boracay Bill 08:03, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

Organizational changes in the Advocacy section

I have made two fairly significant changes to the Advocacy section. I dithered about discussing the need for these changes here before making them, but decided to go with the WP:BB approach because the changes, though organizationally significant, are simple and easily reverted if the feeling is that I've got it wrong.

Firstly, I have deleted the subsection titled Differences between Sunni and Shī‘a/Shi'ite Islam. At a minimum, this should have been a subsubsection below the subsection on Islam rather than standing alongside or (as it was) outside of Islamic views in the subsection ordering. Even as a subsubsection, though, I could see no relevance of the deleted material to a discussion of differences between Sunni and Shiia branches of Islam with regard to to advocacy of their views on separation of Church and State.

Secondly, I changed the subsection organization from

  • Advocacy
    • Religious views on separation
      • Roman Catholic views
      • Baptist views
      • Other Christian views
      • Islamic views
      • Other religious views
    • Secular views on separation

to

  • Advocacy
    • Roman Catholic views
    • Baptist views
    • Other Christian views
    • Islamic views
    • Other religious views
    • Secular views

I considered, alternatively,

  • Advocacy
    • Views of Christian religions
      • Roman Catholic views
      • Baptist views
      • Other Christian views
    • Islamic views
    • Other religious views
    • Secular views on separation

but in the end it didn't make any more sense to me, for purposes of this article, to gather the Christian religious denominations into separate subsections under a Christian views subheading than it had made sense to me to gather Religious views under a subheading. -- Boracay Bill 23:31, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Change to lead

I replaced the former lead for a few reasons. Mainly, I think to characterize the separation of church and state as a primary component of secularization is controversial and somewhat misleading. "Secularization" is generally discussed as a social process; the separation of church and state, OTOH, is really about the government. Also, we already have links in the third paragraph to several of the related articles, which seems more helpful than cramming them all into the first paragraph. Mackan79 18:02, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

I know that Secularization is a rather broad term, but I though that I would be appropriate to say that the separation of Church and State is one of its main elements. But that is not so important. I rather would like to have secular state (instead of Secularity (non-religiosity)) and State religion linked in the second sentence. People really seem to confuse this. Why else would they have a section on the contemporary USA in Historical persecution by Christians? That really ought to be moved to Separation of church and state in the United States. When I'm trying to bring this distinction into the Religious persecution article I have to link something, and I rather link Separation of church and state than Laïcité or Secularization. -Zara1709 18:45, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure it's fair to say the SoCaS creates a "secular state," though. As I suggested earlier, SoCaS is primarily a phrase used in reference to the United States, where the phrase originated. To say this is part of the "secular state," then, is fairly loaded. I'm not sure I totally understand the issue though; is there some reason this article needs to have that link simply because Religious Persecution links here? I'd still think "secularity of government" is a more accurate description of what SoCaS is about. Mackan79 18:57, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
Also, SoCaS can mean disestablishment, but generally means something different (disestablishment is just one aspect). Otherwise, you just say "disestablishment." The lead as it was is quite precise as to how the phrase is historically used.
As to disestablishment, I think that's also why it links to State religion, which deals more narrowly with that issue of the established church. There's also an article disestablishmentarianism, but I think a link to here would be misleading. Mackan79 19:13, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
I will take some time to think about this. -Zara1709 19:18, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the consideration :) I still find the reference to "secular state" problematic, though. I've read quite a bit about the separation of church and state, but don't recall ever having read that it makes the United States into a "secular state." Secular government, yes, but secular state suggests something much stronger. Unless you have some sources to support this, I'd still suggest the previous version, which was sourced, is more accurate. (I'm open to another sentence in the lead paragraph, just don't believe the "secular state" idea is what should go there.) Mackan79 20:46, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
Just jumping in here to add some info from a related article. See this diff. -- Boracay Bill 23:56, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
I saw that -- I was actually going to take issue with that as well. I'll have to try to find some sources, but I believe the phrase "secular state" generally means much more than merely a "secular government," the term we should be using here. This seems to be a recurrent problem on Secular state, with people constantly adding and removing countries from the list, since there's no clear definition of what exactly a "secular state" is. Mackan79 01:21, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Moderates

Per the edit summary, I removed the statement on atheist opposition on the ground that it allows Christians to coexist... If we had a source that would be fine (possibly), but it doesn't seem that Harris's statements actually oppose separation (does he?). Mackan79 13:48, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Sigh

I have tried, numerous times, to keep this article free of US-centric material, and have been reverted several times. User:Mackan79 said in his edit summary:

(I agree the second part should be moved, but we need to move it then, not just delete it. I planned to look at ways but haven't yet.)

So I think the best option is to move the paragraph here. As it happens, I think this is merely "critics say" fluff which has no place in either article, and that the last sentence makes no sense whatsoever, but whatever. Here's the deleted paragraph:

Scholars such as Philip Hamburger have argued that late 19th century popularity of Separation was fueled by nativism such as that of the Know Nothing movement.

American critics of the modern concept of the "separation of church and state" argue that it is untethered to anything in the text of the constitution and is contrary to the conception of the phrase as the framers understood it. Philip Hamburger, University of Chicago law professor and prominent critic of the modern understanding of the concept, maintains that the modern concept is rooted in American anti-Catholicism and nativism. Hamburger connects the modern conception of separation to nativist groups, including the Know Nothings and the Ku Klux Klan, while noting that in 1947, of the nine Supreme Court Justices who held that the constitution required separation in Everson v. Board of Education, at least seven were Masons. [3] Hamburger argues that one of the primary proponents of Separation on the Supreme Court, Justice Hugo Black, had once been a member of the Klan and was known for anti-Catholic sentiments.[4]. Briefs before the Supreme Court, including by the U.S. government, have argued that some state constitutional amendments relating to the modern conception of separation of church and state (Blaine Amendments) were motivated by and intended to enact anti-Catholicism. [5] So this should not be misconstrued as a separation of church and state, rather a separation of government interference of public religion.

Lewis Collard! (natter) 10:38, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

This Article is a FREAKING Nightmare!!!

Hi. I've just spent the last half hour trying to work out how to make this VERY IMPORTANT article somewhat readable and I have almost given up in disgust. This article approaches the issue from multiple angles (Historical, Philosophical, Semantic, National, Religious, Secular (if that can be distinguished from Religious)) Eighty percent of the stuff here is US-centric and repetitive and a lot of it's biased. I propose limiting this page to conceptual and historical development, and then listing different approaches to the separation of church and state, into which countries fall. For example, France is in strict separation, Iran is a Theocracy, The UK is somewhere in between because it has a state religion but is generally pluralistic, etc. This can be done partly with links to specific pages like Separation of church and state in the United States. I am also going to post my edit, which is fairly radical and does away with a lot of repetitive material. I expect it to be reverted shortly but maybe not.--Cdogsimmons 19:07, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Good point. As far as I know, the United States is the only country that has separation of church and state as a constitutional law, so there need only be an article about the United States. The British Queen appoints bishops, the President of China appoints Llamas in Tibet, and Canada allows provinces to fund religious schools. Do we need an article that points out that every country in the world has a different relationship between its government and its religions? --The Four Deuces (talk) 08:04, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

You are wrong about the United States of America being "the only country that has separation of church and state as a constitutional law". It is also the case of France (article 1 of the constitution) and probably of Turkey to name but two countries. Hence, the relevance of the proposal by Cdogsimmons. --F Sykes (talk) 10:39, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Not true of Turkey technically. The Turkish state influences exceptional control over imams, going so far as to be their employer, amongst other things. While the Turkish state is ostensibly secular, its hard to assert that there is a true separation between the two; certainly such a case (of religious employment or appointment in a specific Church coming down from the government) would be anathema and blatantly illegal in America. Even the Chaplain service of the US military has safeguards; the person must be appointed specifically by the Church they represent and can be removed by such at any time, and the government generally has little say in the matter, short of illegal or court-martial level offenses. Even THAT has come under fire recently, and numerous lawsuits are currently in the courts that will, more than likely, result in further, stricter regulations and separations between military brass and chaplains. SiberioS (talk) 03:49, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

Biased article

The meaning of separation of church and state has long been twisted to mean "protecting the state from church influence" rather than protecting churches from state influence. Jefferson's intent in writing his letter was that of the second interpretation. Unfortunately, people often mix up these two ideas and treat them as "separation of church and state" the same. This article has lots of this type of "equivocation," if you will, of these two ways of interpreting this clause. 66.91.236.133 (talk) 23:09, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

You are correct that the term "separation of church and state" includes both concepts, and that the article should distinguish carefully when it's speaking only of one and not the other. Moreover, your point of view -- that separation means just protecting the state from church influence -- is one of the points of view that should be described in the definition section. It is just one point of view, however, and as such cannot guide the entire construction of the article, since, as you concede, "people often ... treat [these two ideas] as 'separation of church and state'". If you have specific points in the article where it would be helpful to distinguish (as opposed to trying to conform the article to your personal perspective) then please point them out here. --Lquilter (talk) 00:05, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

Garbled Nonsence

The stuff about reformation is absurd. Luther and the other reformation leaders encoraged magistrates to burn heretics at the stake He did argue for tollerence at the very begning of the movement, but changed his position later on. The article says that Henry the 8th ended the seperation of church and state in England - in reality during the middleages the priesthood and the monarchy were seen as differnt offices with the same heirachy (With the pope at the very top). Henry the 8th could not have abolished what did not previously exist. As for ancient Isreal... a theocracy is a political structure in which GOD IS REGARDED AS THE HEAD OF STATE! In ancient Isreal "falseprophets" and idol worshipers were routinely stoned to death, this is the very opposite of seperation of church and state! I hope I will find time to work on this, and and some good sound references. The current article is beyond a joke in this area. Melissa 149.254.49.31 (talk) 07:25, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

How many Supreme Court judges are Catholic?

I've moved the following recently-added paragraph here from the "Roman Catholic views" subsection in the "Advocacy" section of the article:

However, recently there have been attacks on the inclusion of Catholics in US government positions most notably by atheist Rosie O'Donnell: ""How many Supreme Court judges are Catholic?" and "[H]ow about separation of church and state?"" There is an anti-Cathlic movement in the United States based on the so-called separation of Church and State.
  • First, I don't think this digression belongs in a subsection which should be addressing Roman Catholic views regarding advocacy of Separation.
  • Second, as far as I know, Rosie doesn't hold credentials which validate her opinions in this area as either knowledgeable or authoratative.
  • Third, if this paragraph or something like it does find a home someplace in this article, it should probably be accompanied by a balancing opinion — perhaps this article from the Idaho Mountain Express quoting Law Professor, Richard Garnett on partial birth abortion (the context in which Rosie's remark was made) as having written: "the Constitution does not disable legislatures entirely from regulating what most people (not just Catholics, fideists, and sexists) regard as a particularly gruesome abortion procedure."
  • Fourth, I'm doubtful that the paragraph's characterization of Rosie as "atheist Rosie O'Donnell" is appropriate here. Such a characterization would, IMHO, need a supporting source.

I suppose I should be up front here in saying that I personally am nonreligious, pro-Separation in the sense of restricting State actions in matters of religion, pro-choice, male, not a medical doctor, and of the opinion that Partial birth abortion might be medically indicated in some cases (notably in cases where the fetus is found in late term to be hydrocephalic). -- Boracay Bill (talk) 00:38, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

cases

Shouldn't there be cases in the article about this topic? Supreme court cases, such as Wallace against Jafree, I mean.204.147.20.1 (talk) 23:43, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Two Kingdoms section

Regarding the Two Kingdoms section, the reason I removed it to the main article is basically because it seems more appropriate in the main article on the subject. With so much material that could be provided here, my thought is it should stay focused generally on the most discussed topics. I could see a section on the meaning of separation from a theological perspective, which might focus on this in part, but a large section just on Luther's views seems out of place in the section going through a very general history. Otherwise in the context of the history sections, I think it would probably need to be cut down to not much more than a sentence, which then would link to the main article. If there are other ideas I'd be open to that as well. Mackan79 (talk) 02:20, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

Removed Section

In the United States, separation of church and state is often identified with the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…" The phrase "building a wall of separation between church and state" was written by the U.S. President Thomas Jefferson in a January 1, 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association.[6]


--

I removed this section as such a focus on the United States in a lead is plainly biased with this concept.DDSaeger (talk) 23:12, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

History section spinoff

Looking at the ancient and medieval history sections, I wonder if there shouldn't be an article just on the relationship between religion and government, apart from these articles on separation. This was done to an extent with the change of Separation of church and state in medieval Europe to Church and state in medieval Europe, but there still doesn't appear to be a general article on that topic of religion and government. At least in this article, the most natural material to move would be the material from before the modern concept of separation was developed, including a lot of background that isn't exactly within the topic of the article. Any thoughts on this? Mackan79 (talk) 19:04, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Locked Article time?

I suggest that with this hot topic, that we lock up this article with the silver lock so that only registered users may edit it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.236.85.143 (talk) 20:26, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Monarchy and/or "State" the separation of;

Hello everyone,

It came to my attention that there is quite a deliberation of the article for "Separation of chuch and state".

As and "Aide" and "Reference" to eliminate confusion, which I will allow to be published are the views and excerpts comming from the Prussian Monarchy on the subject of "Speration of church and state". The following will explain the spearation of the "church and monarchy" and/or also meaning the "church and state" which are the same meaning.

I hope the word of the monarchy will help to provide a better view of the meaning, "Separation of church and state" and/or monarchy.

Question: "Why do we separate the church from the state? Is the Church above the Monarchy?"

Answer: (Feb. 4, 2009) - "Why do we separate the church from the state? Is the Church above the Monarchy?" alt.talk.royalty

BEGINING TEXT...............

A popular question i've been asked is if the church is above the monarchy? To start, the answer is no, and I will explain why since how can man be above god? The answer is that allthough the monarchy is above the church, the monarchy by far is not above god but works together as a team. Then, why do I say the monarchy is above the church? Well to put it quickly, god needs man to (lets say) "stay in business", therefore god elects the king (persay) to command his kingdom the way he wants it. So still, why do I say the monarchy is above the church still? The answer is that allthough, the church is appointed spokespersons for god, only the king can interpret gods want and not the church as the king in gods eyes is the spokesperson to his kingdom and not the church, ie the pope such and so forth. Then why is the pope not king? The answer is, the pope is there just in case the king can't interperet gods word himself, then delegate to the rest of the people. So the monarchy is above the church because, we seperate, the church from the monarchy because the monarchy is priority in gods kingdom the way god wants it and not the way the church wants. It's easier to blame the king if there is mishap for the kings interpretation beacuse he is just one human, and the church is many, and we don't blame our own society. So, botttom line is, "God as Architect, I the King Engineer". - King Fernidad Frederick of Prussia

ENDING TEXT...............

HOPE THIS HELPS!!!!!! 70.181.250.164 (talk) 22:17, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Note: The foregoing appears to come from a comment posted here in a Google groups discussion. -- Boracay Bill (talk) 23:22, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

Catholicism and Freemasonry

Many of the original Church-State conflicts of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries were related to a much deeper conflict between Catholicism and Freemasonry. For instance, the Church has condemned Masons since 1738, and many prominent secularists such as Thomas Jefferson and Émile Combes have been Freemasons. It would not be a bad thing to mention this with relevant sources, the only problem being that any unexpected mention of Freemasonry is taboo. Also, I noticed that one major difference between American secularism and French/Turkish/Mexican secularism is that the US Grand Lodge masons are usually deists while the French/Turkish/Mexican Grand Orient masons are often agnostic/atheist. ADM (talk) 04:46, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

Seventh Day Adventist View

I have changed the source to a site which includes the entire book 'National sunday Law'. However I'm not sure how to (or if I should) remove the 'not included in citation' note. —Preceding unsigned comment added by F4M (talkcontribs) 14:55, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Hostile Secularism?

I don't quite understand this section. I don't understand how the French Revolution or persecution in Mexico actually correlate the description given, however. The description just does NOT describe what actually happened in these events. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.168.204.179 (talk) 05:46, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

Marxist secularism

I think there should probably be an additional commentary on Marxist secularism, i.e. on Marxist interpretations of Church-State separation. Communist countries have often been refered to as atheistic in the Western press, but at home, they considered themselves to be merely secular states, secular states that applied Marxist ideology in public life. During the 1980s, as opposed to the two-way model that currently exists between the United States and France, there was often a third-way model of secularism that was promoted in the Eastern bloc states and in the Soviet Union, which asserted the primacy of the State in all matters public, and considered religion to be a negative influence that was to be relegated to the private sphere, along with other undesirables such as capitalism. ADM (talk) 14:54, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Capital letters

Church and State, when refering to public institutions, are usually written with capital letters. It's unclear why they have been left out in the title of the current article. ADM (talk) 15:00, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Ancient states

Were there any countries in antiquity that actually separated religion and state? People were much more superstitious in those days, after all. — Rickyrab | Talk 00:00, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Advocacy

i just noticed that every section of the advocacy area is tagged for being biases. i'm a little confused. how can they not be? they are arguments for or against something. also, Secular arguments against separation really needs to be expanded. i'm sure someone can find something more to say. it could be changed to be Non-religious arguments against separation.J.L.Main 04:17, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

I will make it brief.
Wikipedia begins this section with, "The separation of church and state is a political doctrine which states that the institutions of the state or national government should be kept separate from those of religious institutions."
Now there is a lot of talk (I see) on this subject; BUT, there is NO political doctrine that states a (or establishes a) "separation of church and state". It is Not in the constitution or bill of rights !!!!!! This is all a lie!!!! I have seen democrats, republicans and secularists use this statement, blah blah "...is against separation of church and state"; but it is a propaganda ploy or tool of telling a big lie often enough and many times will make the masses believe it. This statement, "separation of church and state", was stated only in a letter by T. Jefferson. Think People!!! A Letter !!!!
Ok, if you state the 1st amendment projects this, then you are Dead wrong, The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is a part of the United States Bill of Rights. It prohibits the federal legislature from making laws that: Establish a state religion or prefer a certain religion (the "Establishment Clause") and Prohibit free exercise of religion (the "Free Exercise Clause"). It does not even attempt to EXTRACT religion from the country whatsoever. The people who do cite "separation of church and state" appear to want it to mean to eliminate religion all together.


216.41.143.214 15:15, 22 December 2006 (UTC) Mario J. Machado
Although the first amendment doesn't explicitly state "Separation of Church and State",it does, like you said, "prohibit the federal legislature from making laws that: Establish a state religion or prefer a certain religion (the "Establishment Clause"). Secularists find it impossible to have church as part of state without it being preferable. And even if it maintains neutrality amongst religions, it still isn't with atheism or agnosticism. Separation of Church and State just clarifies the intended purpose of our government.
12:12, 5 March 2007 Samuel Bohler —Preceding unsigned comment added by 131.204.97.40 (talk) 14:15, March 5, 2007

It should be noted that just because the "Secularists find it impossible to have church as part of state without it being preferable" does not mean that the ammendment implies a neutrality between an non-specific religion and atheism. The 1st Amendment has always had a religious bias against atheism. The founding fathers believed in freedom to pursue theology not freedom to pursue non-theology. 134.137.180.8 (talk) 17:37, 9 July 2009 (UTC)


the constitution was not written by secularists but by our christian forefathers, christian not meaning a specific religion but any person practicing in religion respecting a creative entity (commonly referred to as God), not by secularists or atheists. whether atheists want to believe so or not, they are governed by christian beliefs such as "thou shall not steal" and "thou shall not kill". An adoption of secular beliefs would not include these laws? therefore saying "secularists find it impossible to have church as part of state without it being preferable" is moot. so, you should amend the opening to state the original intention of the phrase "seperation of church and state" was coined outside of the constitution and was intended only to inform that congress could make no law establishing and enforcing one religion over another and could not prohibit the free expression of any religion (that doesn't interfere with the rights and liberties of your neighbor), not that congress has to be without religion. afterall, congress has already ruled in the past as to the meaning behind the first amendment (i will have to research the case before quoting exactly) and warned against a secular interpretation of this amendment. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.64.41.157 (talk) 02:28, 22 November 2009 (UTC)


>"they are governed by christian beliefs such as "thou shall not steal" and "thou shall not kill""

I disagree, I don’t think that “not killing” and “not stealing” were exclusively "Christian Beliefs" or require belief in a god to comprehend

"Morality is an evolved repertoire of cognitive and emotional mechanisms with distinct biological underpinnings, as modified by experience acquired throughout the human lifespan."[7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32]
"Morality is not the exclusive domain of Homo sapiens; there is significant cross-species evidence in the scientific literature that animals exhibit "pre-morality" or basic moral behaviors (i.e. those patterns of behavior that parallel central elements of human moral behavior). "[33][34][35][36][37][38][39][40][41][42][43][44][45][46][47][48]
"Morality is a "human universal" (i.e. exists across all cultures worldwide), a part of human nature acquired during evolution"[49][50][51][52][53][54][55][56][57][58][59][60][61][62][63][64][65][66][67]
"Young children and infants demonstrate some aspects of moral cognition and behavior (which precede specific learning experiences and worldview development)".[68][69][70][71][72][73][74][75][76][77]

Blamire (talk) 12:58, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

  1. ^ http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/rel06-2.html
  2. ^ http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/rel06-2.html
  3. ^ Hamburger, Philip Separation of Church and State (Harvard University Press, New Ed edition 2004)
  4. ^ Hamburger, Philip Separation of Church and State (Harvard University Press, New Ed edition 2004)
  5. ^ LOCKE V. DAVEY 540 U.S. 712 (2004)
  6. ^ "Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists". Unknown parameter |Accessdate= ignored (|accessdate= suggested) (help)
  7. ^ •Adolphs R. (2003). Cognitive neuroscience of human social behaviour. Nat Rev Neurosci, 4, 165-178.
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Separation of "Church" and State

I know the supposed term for this political doctrine is "Separation of church and state", however I believe this title is not in accordance with the doctrine should be "Seperation of religion and state", as the term "church" connotates merely with Christian denominations, offering the assumption that other religions and religious doctrines are not included in the "Seperation of church and state"—it also can be viewed as discrimination toward Christianity. I believe the term "church" is most likely used due to ineptitude of the term's creator, and should be replaced with the term "religion" on Wikipedia. I propose we move this article to that title and rephrase the opening statement as such:

  • The separation of religion and state (unveiled as separation of church and state) is a political doctrine ..."

A further explanation of the title and title alteration could be explained further in the article. Any further comments would be appreciated. — CRAZY`(IN)`SANE 20:46, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

"Ineptitude of the creator"? I think you misunderstand the issue. The doctrine as it is formed was originally to stop a Christian denomination being favoured and adopted as an official state denomination - it's not actually the secularism ideal (that religion should not be included in Government whatsoever) that so many people believe it to be. The historical context has led it to be called this. It's not a biased issue in any sense. (JROBBO 05:46, 7 August 2006 (UTC))

As far as I have learned, the 'Seperation of church and state' is supposed to mean just that -- 'church and state' not religion and state. This is why there is all the talk about "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". The "establishment of religion", i.e., a particular state run church, is banned. The point was not to separate a religious mindset from government; Thomas Jefferson was a very religious man. There is something wrong with the Wikipedia article when it reads, "Separation of church and state is the political and legal concept that government and religion should be separate". It should read:

  • The separation of religion and state is the political and legal concept that government and religious establishments should be separate

--fogus (talk) 02:38, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

"It was clear, however, that Jefferson did not espouse a viewpoint that divorced all inferences of religion in government. Perhaps the best example of this is the fact that he appropriated federal funds for what today would be considered a violation of "separation of church and state." The treaty approved stated :

Jefferson used federal monies to teach the Indians the Gospel of Jesus Christ. he personally authored "The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth". He approved funding while president for this. Annual support for the Tribe's Roman Catholic priest and church. The treaty approved stated : "And whereas, the greater part of the Tribe having been baptized and received into the Catholic Church, to which they are much attached, the United States will give annually for seven years one hundred dollars towards the support of a priest of that religion.. and.. three hundred dollars to assist the said Tribe in the erection of a church"

I'm wonder what treaty is referred to here. --THE FOUNDERS INTENT PRAISE 19:59, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

Material moved here for discussion

I've moved the following material added by an anon in this edit here:

It was clear, however, that Jefferson did not espouse a viewpoint that divorced all inferences of religion in government. Perhaps the best example of this is the fact that he appropriated federal funds for what today would be considered a violation of "separation of church and state." The treaty approved stated :

Jefferson used federal monies to teach the Indians the Gospel of Jesus Christ. he personally authored "The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth". He approved funding while president for this. Annual support for the Tribe's Roman Catholic priest and church. The treaty approved stated : "And whereas, the greater part of the Tribe having been baptized and received into the Catholic Church, to which they are much attached, the United States will give annually for seven years one hundred dollars towards the support of a priest of that religion.. and.. three hundred dollars to assist the said Tribe in the erection of a church"

[1]

The cited supporting source is fully readable online ({vol. 1, vol. 2, vol. 3). I have searched all three volumes and have been unable to find the quoted passage. Also, as THE FOUNDERS INTENT pointed up above, the inserted material lacks context. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 22:35, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

I'll pull it.19:27, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
  1. ^ [Henery S. Randall, The Life of Thomas Jefferson (New York, Derby & Jackson, 1858) American State Papers, Walter Lowery and Matthew St. Claire Clark, Editors (Washington D.C. Gales & Seaton, 1832)]

Merge proposal

I read carefully both Separation of church and state and Laïcité and please forgive my stupidity but the concepts are basically the same, with some intricacies in specifics as applied in specific countries. But these particularites may be covered in country-specific articles, such as Separation of church and state in the United States. No need for a French word IMO. `'mikka (t) 05:35, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

There's a separate article for the US - but much more of this (unorganized) article should be there. A separate article for France is OK - but title should be in English --JimWae 06:18, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

  • Agree with JimWae. Arbusto 23:27, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Agree with JimWae. Diez2 25:43, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Strong disagree.. As a lawyer I have to disagree, they might seem similar to the unfamiliar eye, but they are fundamentally different.. The fact that it is a french word doesn't mean anything, there is a different word because they are different concepts.. anglo-saxon secularism and french laicité are not the same, one of them is a system where the state gives the freedom to religion and religious institutions to do whatever they want, the other is one where the state actively monitors and controls the activities of religious institutions to make sure that the religions don't have the same authority and functions as the state (schools etc).. In laicité, religions are always considered inferior to the republic, the laws of the republic can limit and force religious institutions to abandon their practices; spiritual movements considered to be cults are clearly defined by law, banned and actively prosecuted.. A Jehovah's witness in France or Turkey cannot refuse blood transfusion, if they do, they will be forced to accept the transfusion and later prosecuted.. There is a reason why that article was named as such, it is not only France that practices laicité, it is a universal principle born from the French revolution. From an academics point of view, removal of that article would constitute a grave deficiency for Wiki.. I know that the article in its current state is not very comprehensive and can lead the reader to think that they are the same, but a concept as such truly deserves to have its own article. I have joined wiki only a few weeks ago and completely rewrote the article Turkish Constitution, I gave a specific link to laicité and not to secularism for this reason.. When I have the time, I am willing to work on the laicité article to make it more comprehensive and demonstrate its fundamental philosophical differences it has with secularism. And definitely dont move it to sep of church and state!! Turkey is a secular country, that would be highly eurocentric to label what it practices like this, it is a predominantly muslim country.. Please reconsider, over the last two centuries there have been many works written to point out and define the conceptual differences between anglo-saxon secularism and french laicité.. We would be doing all of them a great injustice if that article was not to have its own listing.. regards Baristarim 02:03, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Btw, it is not only France that practices laicité, that is not the reason it was named in french. Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country, has been intentionally practising laicité and not secularism.. I know that in English secularism is used as a blanket word, but most European academicians would know the conceptual difference between these two.. Another very important point: Laicité is not the seperation of church and state as equals, it is the subordination of church to the state in a hierarchy, religion only being able to do what the laws of the republic allow them: religions are considered as inferior to the moral superiority of the republic which is defined as the soul of the nation.. I have lived in TR, US and FR, and believe me, there is a fundamental difference in nature.. By definition such a merge would be illogical, since it would assume that laicité is the French method of seperating the church and the state.. I hope that u were able to follow me, this is one of the more delicate philosophical matters in political sciences and law, so it might be extremely hard to grasp the concept if one is not familiar with the subject (history of secularism in Europe) beforehand..Baristarim 02:21, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
In TR and FR, we use both words, secularism and laicité (tr:laisizm), in academic writing when talking about political sciences especially in intl pol sci.. However, there is an academic concensus that are parallel to the decisions of constitutional courts of both countries that affirm that these countries choose and practise laicité, not secularism.. Laicité is not the French for secularism: for example in Italy, both words are used (more or less), but there has been an ongoing debate for decades as to which form the country should practice.. Baristarim 02:38, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

I am not suggesting to merge Secularism and Laicite. You claim you are a lawyer, so you must listen carefully what other people say.

I am basing my suggestion on definitions in articles:

  • Laicite: ... is a prevailing conception of the secularism and the absence of religious interference in government affairs, and vice-versa..

Tell me it is not Separation of church and state (and it is not what you wrote above). Of course, every country and culture may do it in different ways. Therefore it is suggested to cover this topic in separate articles for particular states. But the main concept (and main article) is "Separation of...". `'mikka (t) 04:32, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Laicité is almost more than just separation of State and Church. It is a total disparition from public sphere of mentions of religion or God. All that touches religion is totally banned from law, politic, education, justice, etc. because it is considered as part of private life.Rhadamante 21:39, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
No merge; see also because they are related, but no merge because they are quite different. KillerChihuahua?!? 22:16, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Not quite Mikka.. On two points.. One: Please read my second post above about the difference in 'nature' between the two. Laicité is NOT the seperation of church (? btw) and state, it is the "subordination" (more or less) of religion to the republic.. The intro u gave from laicité clearly shows this!! it is a conception of secularism and the absence of religious affairs in govt affairs. I fail to see how you can deduce that it concerns seperation. Seperation implies, by definition, an equality (again we r talking more or less). As an ideology, laicité doesn't permit that. In fact I will step back and kind of change what I wrote before when I said laicité is not secularism. There are two theories to this subject, one is what I said before and the other is that laicité is a form of secularism, IF and ONLY IF, secularism is used only by its dictionary definition. The problem arises from the fact that secularism, in usage, is only used to refer to secularism in Anglo-Saxon countries. That's what I tried to imply when I said laicité is not secularism. If we go by the purely dictionary def, then both laicité and "seperation of church and state" are a forms of secularism. In any case sep of ch&st is definitely not secularism itself. Therefore, there should be three different articles in fact that explain the ideologies: Secularism and two sub-articles: seperation of church and state; laicité.. And there should be other articles that deal with their practical applications in different countries. But even then we would be still pushing it, because it is generally accepted that laicité is not even a form of secularism because of the usage problem. Which brings me to something else:

I fear systemic bias here. Laicité is a predominantly non-English European ideology, therefore, as the article itself so rightly states, there is not an exact equivalent in the Anglo-Saxon world except for in the high academic spheres. It is English Wiki, not Anglo-Saxon Wiki :))

I actually read your proposal, but do I need glasses or did I read merge proposal as the section title? This article is (or should be) about how church and state relations are dealt with in predominantly Christian countries (and not religions in general).. That's why there is a different article called "secularism".. Secularism is (according to the 2nd def that I disagree with) an encompassing word for all ideologies that promote non-interference of religion in state. It is maleable without implying how and where it should be done.. When u use "church", u get into specifics, therefore it becomes a subset of secularism. If u were to change the article's title to sep of state and religion, then I fail to see how that would be different than secularism to begin with. Let's not forget we are dealing with ideologies here, not the practical application of secularism in different countries. Soon I will be starting an article called "secularism in turkey", and I will explain how it uses laicité branch as the basis for its secularism. Shortness of an article should not be a basis for its practical deletion by merging.

In response to specific points u raised: One, I explained the difference between laicité and sep ch&st, and how they are a subset of secularism (in fact, if u go with my first definition, the latter is a subset of the former, but just to bridge the divide between Anglo-Saxon world and European, let's go along with my later def where they are equals). Turkey practices the former, and that's obvious in two ways: ideologically that's what it practices and, obviously it is not a christian country. And please, I don't want to hear that eurocentric thesis that is extremely insulting to the intelligence of others whereby people claim that "church" is used figuratively.. Well, maybe we should go to the sep of ch&st in the US article and rename it "sep of mosque and state in the US" instead.. "But no!! We mean mosque figuratively, don't get offended!!".. yeah right :)). Secondly, as I pointed above, laicité is not a seperation, it is a subordination.. As I said, they might seem similar to the unfamiliar eye, but please consider the factor of systemic bias I mentioned above. AND NO, the main article is not "seperation of...", the main article for ideologies is (again, only according to the 2nd def) "secularism", and all the other ideologies are subsets. If we were to merge the two articles in question and rename it to seperation of religion and state, we might as well merge BOTH these articles with secularism, which would be a great deficiency for Wiki since we would be going backwards by returning to the starting point. Baristarim 03:03, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

I also strongly disagree with any merger. Laicite, as the sources note, arose out of a culture of anti-clericalism which is not found in the American tradition. The kind of hostility to religion in that tradition was not for the most part found in the U.S. The concepts are different and distinct. While the concepts are obviously related in some regards, merging the two would only muddle the issues, confuse readers and make connections which do not exist. Mamalujo (talk) 20:44, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

Bias - Friendly and Hostile separation

I’m uneasy about the “Friendly and Hostile separation” section. The first time I read it, I thought I heard axe-grinding. Example:

"The hostile variety, by contrast, seeks to banish religion to the private realm within the walls of the home and church and limits or usurps religious education, sacred rites of passage and public displays of faith."

Which I edited to a more a neutral and encyclopaedic version:

"The hostile variety, by contrast, seeks to confine religion purely to the home or church and limits religious education, religious rites of passage and public displays of faith."

I’m worried my edit has just glossed over an inherently biased piece of writing however. I’m not an expert on the topic, so could someone please add some well-sourced balance? “Hostile” separation can be taken much too far, but it has an important role in protecting people from the church – I don’t want to say prayers in school, as the law of my country insists I should! This article is currently making out there's no middle ground, just "hostile" fanatics (the terminology doesn't help!). GM Pink Elephant (talk) 15:51, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

WP is not supposed to weigh in with an opinion. Rather, (oversimplifying) on points where there is disagreement, WP is supposed to present the various opinions, citing sources explaining each opinion in more detail. I would say (not being very nuanced myself about this) that either version above is a fair restatement of what the supporting source cited at that point says. I've edited that section attempting to sharpen up the presentation of the supporting cites, using the style I found in place there. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 05:30, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

Why cant they just outlaw religion already?! The world would be a way better place without it!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 4.225.104.14 (talk) 20:13, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

I agree, this section is not encyclopedic. I states the differences between hostile and friendly separation, but then goes on to cite an opinion which is one-sided, praising one form of separation, while condemning another. This section either needs a counter-opinion, or a removal of any opinions and leave the explanations with the citations to them intact to be balanced.20:07, 22 December 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Chronocoon (talkcontribs)

I think you misunderstand NPOV. Just becuase there isn't a view "supporting" what scholars call the hostile approach to separation of church and state does not mean you must delete the reliably sourced material which is already there. Mamalujo (talk) 00:23, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Confusion

In the section called "advocacy", its actually Catholics and Muslims opposing, not advocating the "separation of Church and State". IMO this article should be renamed "Relationship between church and state" and then a section describing fors and againsts. - Yorkshirian (talk) 22:12, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

I think it should be called "Quote heard 'round the world", because a single quote by a single man is what many hang entire legal premises on. --THE FOUNDERS INTENT PRAISE 02:50, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps the Advocacy section should have Advocacy for and Advocacy against subheadings. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 03:30, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps... I think Yorkshirian has read "advocacy" in a way it isn't intended though. Doesn't necessarily imply one way or the other. (That doesn't mean it's the best choice of heading, but it seemed ok to me.) Mackan79 (talk) 03:48, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

Bogus Attribution

It appears that footnote 34 is a bogus attribution of "complete separation of church and state" to Madison's letter to Robert Walsh. The letter to Walsh contains no such verbiage, and pretty much is on the subject of the Missouri Compromise Spoon!! (talk) 19:51, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

I added a supporting cite. There are other supporting sources (see [9]. The wikisource link you provided was broken, but you apparently intended to link this, which quotes a 27 November, 1819 letter. The source I've cited doesn't date the quoted-from precisely, but other sources (e.g., this one) date it as March 2, 1819. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 22:57, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

Material quoting Jefferson moved here from the article

I've moved the following material recently added in these edits by User:Rwuorenma here:

Thomas Jefferson was recorded discussing the First Amendment in the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798. He was never a strict separationist, but was determined to defend the right of the states to respect religion when he said, "no power over freedom of religion [is]...delegated to the United States by the Constitution;...All lawful powers respecting the same did of right remain, and were restored, to the states, or the people." This important addition to the Constitution was written to free us of religion's particular name not from religion, an influence that secularists may want for public life.

Respectfully, Rick Wuorenma Almena, WI

Since it purports to quote Jefferson directly, per WP:V a supporting source would need to be cited if added to the article.Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 04:14, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

My edits.

Someone told me to use the talk page. I had to remove a few sections repeatedly. It looks like those who reverted me were reverting dozens of articles at a time, so they clearly were not looking at my change, just undoing it because they can. I removed sections which talked about ancient cultures that did not have separation of church and state. These sections did not have footnotes, and they did not create an article that showed that those cultures helped to create separation of church and state in modern time. All they were were establishment of how in ancient times there was no such thing. It reads like a right wing conservative push against separation of church and state, by saying 'it's only modern and it isn't correct', which is a typical argument by people with that position. I removed them, but I left the mesopotamia section, because it is marked as needing help, and it shows an ancient culture that did have separations, and i did the same for the Japan part. None of the sections I removed built on the sections I left in, and the sections left do not need the sections I removed. Those sections simply did not make the article more clear, or more about separation of church and state. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.84.169.4 (talk) 23:47, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

This article makes a false statement by implication and omission

"Separation of Church and State" is a vague and thus potentially massively reaching phrase. Contrary to widespread mis-impressions, that phrase is not US law, nor is it in the US Constitution. That phrase has been used by the Supreme Court when making judgments which implement the actual provisions of the Constitution. By implication and omission, article propagates the widespread error rather than clearing it up. North8000 (talk) 21:10, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

This U.S. centric issue more directly concerns the Separation of church and state in the United States article. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 22:29, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
You probably have made a more thorough analysis of the article than I with respect to that. In a quick overview it didn't look that way but I could be wrong. North8000 (talk) 01:57, 17 June 2010 (UTC)


Globalization and Globalization Template

Only about 5% of this article is patently about the USA. Possibly it is too USA centric at a subtler level. Either way, I don't think it needs the Scarlet Letter of such a template at the top of the article. North8000 (talk) 02:14, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

Rebuttal

I had tried to edit the article on 'separation of church and state' by posting a comment that said the US Constitution,Bill Of Rights,First Amendment makes government support of religion illegal,since it says 'congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion'. That means that the government should not establish the credibility of a religion by endorsing it's doctrine,or establish it's bank account,by giving it money. The 'office of faith-based initiatives' is illegal and unconstitutional under the First Amendment,since it establishes a means of giving the taxpayers' money to churches. I think somebody said,at the time,that my remarks were 'original thought',and therefore,deserved to be deleted. No so. Since I did not write the U.S. Constitution,it does not qualify as 'original thought'. I think someone else said my remarks were POV,which means 'point of view'. My remarks were actually a reiteration fo the point of view expressed by Thoman Jefferson,George Washington,and the other writers of the U.S. Constitution. The Wikipedia article about 'separation of church and state' has a strong pre-religious bias. I should also point out that since the U.S. Constitution,Bill Of Rights,First Amendment says 'Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion',that any means of establishing the bank account of a religion is illegal under American Constitutional law. Clergymen in the U.S.A. enjoy an exemption from income taxes,called the 'ecclasiastical exemption'. It means a clergyman does not have to pay income taxes,so obviously,the clergy has an unfair advantage over taxpayers. The office of faith-based intiatives is unconstitutional,because it's purpose is to establish the credibility of religion,by giving a de facto state endorsement of the very idea of religion,and since the office of faith-based initiatives provides money to churches,it establishes the bank accounts of churches. So,federal support for religion contradicts Constitutional law,and that is not an original thought,it dates back to the time when the Constitution was written. If you want to delete my remarks,you are only expressing pro-religious bias. ----Anthony Ratkov (68.248.12.48) 09:26, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

The US has a section, why is it in the international views?

The United States is the only country with it's own section in this article and yet in the following "International Views" section one paragraph starts "In the United States" and the one right after contains the same words in the second sentence. Both paragraphs are entirely about the United States. I vote to move these paragraphs to the US section or loose them all together. Omniomi (talk) 22:34, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

Lots of Work & Changes by RJensen

What a lot of work and changes by RJensen. For most of us it will take a week or two to figure out what happened. (or if you care to summarize more than what's in the edit summaries.....) Hope it turns out to be good! North8000 (talk) 23:34, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

I did several things. One I've added subheads and a short guide to further reading. 2, I cleaned up some citations, such as the one to Pres. Tyler. three, I added a little historical background on Europe, especially St. Augustine. 4, I dropped some unsourced speculation about separation of church and state in the United States. 5. I revised somewhat of the sections on France. I think all these are marginal improvements, they did not change the main scope of the article.Rjensen (talk) 23:56, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the overview! North8000 (talk) 02:31, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

New section: Religious view

Please add various religious views. Thanks Peaceworld111 (talk) 18:30, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

Spinoza?

Why doesn't this article mention Spinoza? He was one of the most influential early proponents of the separation of church and state His book: Theologico-Political Treatise [Tractatus Theologico-Politicus], published in 1670, has had a lasting influence on intellectual thought in philosophy and politics. --96.253.50.139 (talk) 23:49, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

Hmmmm... I have no background in this area, but that caused me to look at pages 300-301 here: "... , we are compelled to maintain that the Divine right, or the right of control over spiritual matters, depends absolutely on the decree of the sovereign, who is its legitimate interpreter and champion. Therefore the true ministers of God's word are those who teach piety to the people in obedience to the authority of the sovereign rulers by whose decree it has been brought into conformity with the public welfare." That sounds clearly relevant, but it doesn't sound like a view which favors separation. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 03:29, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

My removal of the Treaty of Tripoli section

I've boldly removed this section, which this recent edit drew my attention to. The content looked more than a bit strange and not drawn from the content of the Treaty of Tripoli article. The section was added in December of 2009 by this edit. The IP address from which the edit was made is currently blocked for a year for sockpuppet activity. This section doesn't seem to have any close connection with the topic of this article, so I've simply removed it. If reinserted, its content should be thoroughly reviewed and probably rewritten as a proper summary style section. One additional reference which might be useful is Gary DeMar (1993). "8. The Treaty of Tripoli". America's Christian history: the untold story. American Vision. ISBN 9780915815715. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 07:31, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

punishing a sockpuppet by blocking is one thing but punishing the readers of this article is something else. Information that is highly relevant and correct and fully cited belongs in Wikipedia. There is strong suspicion that some folks hate the Triopoli treaty because it undercuts their religious belief that America ought to be a Christian nation; the suspicion is strengthened when Wtmitchell cites DeMar's book promoting "Christian History". That is a strong motive for them to erase good information, but it would violate NPOV rules to do that and we have to be BOLD and prevent that misuse of Wikipedia. Rjensen (talk) 14:05, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
Rjensen, please keep your suspicions in check. I'm not trying to punish anyone, and I did not come at this with a POV bias in mind. FYI, I personally do not have a religious bias towards a belief that America ought to be a Christian nation. As I said, I removed the section you've reinserted when this this edit came up on my watchlist. What caught my eye about that edit was the bit about the treaty having been (or allegedly having been) drafted by "George Washington's administration with Thomas Jefferson's help." I remembered the the treaty as having been negotiated in Tripoli, not drafted in the U.S. I remembered the name "Barlow" in close connection with the negotiation of the treaty, not the name "Washington". A quick check of the Treaty of Tripoli article turned up differences in this area as presented here vs. as presented in that article. Thinking about travel times and communications difficulties between the U.S and Tripoli in a 1796 timeframe raised questions in my mind about how much close influence could have been exerted from the U.S. over the progress of the negotiations in Tripoli. I tried to check the cited source (F. Forrester Church. The separation of church and state (2004) p. 121) here, and found that it is not previewable online. Libraries are not available in my location, so I did a bit of googling for info and came up with the book chapter which I cited which, at a quick skim, appeared to have some pretty good info about the process by which the treaty came to be what it ended up being. I see from your user page that you are an active historian. As such, you are no doubt better acquainted with the relevant details than I. However, those details as presented here differ from the details as presented in Treaty of Tripoli#Signing and ratification, which speaks of David Humphreys having been given a task on March 30, 1795 work out a treaty and having delegated the mechanics of the negotiation on February 10, 1796, about a year later, to Joel Barlow and Joseph Donaldson, and of the treaty having been signed on November 4, 1796, about nine months after that. I don't see the heavy hands of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson in that -- Washington was in the U.S at the time, Jefferson was in France, and the fastest means of communication was exchange of quill and ink missives via sailing ship, right? Perhaps I misapprehend. Whatever the situation was, however, that situation should not be presented as differently here than it is presented in the Treaty of Tripoli article as it currently is. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 02:48, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
(added) I've placed {{contradict-other}} tags in the two articles. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 02:25, 22 October 2010 (UTC)